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Friday’s Headlines: ‘Sammy’s Law’ is Going to Happen Edition

12:03 AM EDT on May 26, 2023

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

As we previewed yesterday, the City Council emphatically (well, by a vote of 35-9) voted to send a letter to the state legislature demanding passage of a state bill that would allow the city to set its own damn speed limits.

Several of the usual City Council suspects (Hi there, Council Member Borelli!) voted against giving the city the power to set speed limits below 25 miles per hour in some places, but most reasonable people think it's reasonable for the city to have more control over local things like streets and reducing the likelihood that a crash will be fatal.

Meanwhile, some Council members (including some who voted "yes" like Selvena Brooks-Powers and epochal figure Charles Barron) made the good point that reducing speed limits without narrowing the high-speed roadways of the outer boroughs is just a formula for writing a lot of tickets to low-income people. (Council Member Nantasha Williams, who voted no, also made this point.)

It's not a new argument, of course — Streetsblog has been pointing out for years that speedway-like roads are basically a legacy of racism and classism — but it's important to remember that in districts like Borelli's, Brooks-Powers's, Williams's and Barron's, the city has failed to make crucial safety redesigns and, as a result, drivers are encouraged to speed. (That said, the city has failed to make those crucial safety redesigns in part because of objection from some of the very Council members who claim they support them.)

For now, the livable streets community will take the much-needed win. (Crain's also covered.) The state legislature is expected to pass the bill soon, given that legislative leaders have said all they were waiting for was the Council's "home rule" message. So there you go.

In other news from a relatively slow day:

    • The Post and amNY followed our coverage from yesterday about the cop who tried to run a moped rider off the road, but the tabloid didn't get any more information out of the NYPD, which still says the horrifying incident is under investigation.
    • We were happy to see that the Daily News broke the story about the NYPD's decision to save a few bucks by endangering the lives of city school kids — but surprised that the paper didn't include anything about said danger, which we reported on last year and informed our follow up.
    • Cars are so dangerous that sometimes they fall of of elevated expressways into parks! (NYDN, amNY)
    • Here's a nice thread from Friend of Streetsblog (and congestion pricing expert!) Charles Komanoff:
    • And, finally, in national news, our old man editor's "Temp Tag Tuesday" series on fraudulent out-of-state license plates apparently has fans in Ferguson, Missouri, where the local cops are going to crack down, you guessed it, every "Temp Tag Tuesday"! (Fox2) Unlike our editor, though, those Midwestern constables don't have their own theme song:

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