UWS Safety & Cycling Advocacy Group Seeks To Lower Neighborhood Speed Limit To 20 MPH

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

I can’t say I’m onboard with this, but…

I just came across some news that a street safety and cycling advocacy group called Upper West Side Streets Renaissance (UWSSR) is leading an effort to get New York City to permanently lower the speed limit on the UWS from 30 mph (the standard throughout NYC)  to 20 mph.


@ReporterLeslie has the story at DNAinfo. Per DNAinfo:

Though she hasn’t been able to find neighborhood-level data on speed-related accidents, [UWSSR director Lisa] Sladkus said her research on the effects of speeding has only bolstered her belief that a 20 mph zone would make the neighborhood much safer for kids and seniors.

Pedestrians who get hit by a car driving 20 mph have a 98 percent chance of survival, Sladkus said. At 30 mph, the chance of survival drops to 80 percent, and at 40 mph, there’s a 30 percent of survival.

You should read through the article for full details, but there seems to be a presumption by the people behind this movement that speed is the primary factor in car vs. pedestrian accidents.

I would venture to say that jaywalking, inattentive pedestrians, and bad drivers have more to do with these accidents than vehicular speed.

Citing survival statistics at various impact speeds is convenient marketing. I’m sure the survival and injury rates are even better below 20 mph — I just don’t think this addresses why accidents are happening in the first place.

I hate to sound callous, but short of a car running a red light or stop sign, I’m of the belief that most car vs. pedestrians accidents happen because the pedestrian is somewhere they shouldn’t be.

Simply lowering the speed limit won’t resolve that issue.



Filed under: Manhattan, New York City, News, NYC, Politics, Seniors, Transportation, Upper West Side, Upper West Side Blog, UWS 2 Comments »
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  • Sarah Roberts

    It would just be nice not cross Central Park West without fearing for one’s lives.   Every day, many times a day, there are multiple cars going so fast that they cannot stop at the light change and often run two lights before finally stopping.  The worst offenders are the large dump trucks.  

  • MyUpperWest

    I don’t necessarily disagree, but I think this is more of a case of enforcing the current laws rather than arbitrarily putting a new one on the books.

    The people who are speeding and running red lights are going to continue to do so regardless of the limit.

    I’m not sure how much NYPD can step up enforcement, but I find that more preferable, and more effective, than lowering the speed limit.

    You’d figure the city would be keen to start ticketing people, given the amount of revenue it would generate.