June 24, 2014, By Michael Florio
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to combat pedestrian casualties moved another step forward when he signed a package of 11 traffic safety bills at PS 152 in Woodside yesterday, near the street where an 8-year-old local boy was killed by a tractor-trailer.
The new laws essentially aim to clamp down on reckless driving and speeding that the city claims contribute to the death of 250 pedestrians in New York City every year.
The laws include lowering the speed limit near 50 schools; prohibiting stunts by motorcyclists; establishing penalties for drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists; and firing cabbies who kill or injure someone while violating the traffic code.
The 11 bills, along with legislation that was passed in Albany last week that empowers the City to reduce the default speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour, will make the streets safer, de Blasio said at the signing.
“The default speed limit of 25 miles per hour is a huge step forward for New York City,” he said. “Vision Zero fundamentally comes down to reducing speeding and reckless driving and this is a central element to that plan to protect our people.”
The new laws also call for the introduction of more slow zones around the city.
The parents of Noshat Nahian, the 8-year-old boy who was struck while walking across Northern Boulevard at 61st Street on his way to school, attended the signing.
Since the tragedy, the intersection has been redesigned. The city has added pedestrian islands and changed the traffic signals so that people have more time to cross. De Blasio said that other dangerous intersections would be overhauled.
DOT is currently working with the community to bring similar improvements to Northern Blvd between 62nd and 102nd Streets.
“These bills will help reduce crashes and save lives,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, who was at the signing.
NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan said that each precinct will be keeping a close eye on the dangerous intersections in their respective sectors– and will work with the DOT to implement these bills.
Chan said that the NYPD has already stepped up its level of traffic enforcement on local streets this year—issuing 14% more tickets/summons this year, compared to the same period last year.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer lauded de Blasio’s initiative and said that there have been far too many pedestrian fatalities—such as Noshat Nahian’s— in the Western Queens area over the past two years.
Tenzin Drudak, 16, was hit and killed while waiting to cross Thomas Ave on his way to school.
Van Bramer said today’s announcement makes the city closer to its mission of zero traffic fatalities.