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Quoted in NYC DOT, NYPD, TLC and Elected Officials announce kickoff of 25 Days to 25 mph Campaign

The New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan and Taxi & Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi today announced the city’s 25 Days to 25 mph campaign in advance of the new default speed limit lowering from 30 to 25 mph taking effect Friday, November 7th, or 25 days from yesterday. The officials were joined by Transportation Chair Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, advocates, and community members in Prospect Heights, on Brooklyn’s Vanderbilt Avenue, a corridor with a current speed limit of 30 mph, which will be lowered to 25 mph.

“This is one of the most sweeping changes we can make to protect families and neighborhoods, but it all comes down to the individual choices and decisions each of us makes. In the 25 days before we lower the city’s speed limit, we will be out on the streets and on the airwaves to make sure New Yorkers understand how vital this change is. To succeed, we need everyone to share that same message in the car, on the block and at the dinner table. Together, we can save lives,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Going from 30 mph to 25 mph is not just a speed reducer—it is a life saver,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We are embarking on a broad public awareness campaign in order to establish 25 mph into New Yorkers’ minds. Our leaders and communities are united in putting the brakes on the culture of excessive speeding and reckless driving in the city.”

“As the ‘Safest Big City’ in the nation, it is time to extend that safety to our city’s roadways,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan. “Speed is a leading factor in traffic fatalities across our city.  Adhering to the speed limit will decrease both the probability and severity of injuries and damages.”

“As part of the TLC’s Vision Zero effort, we’ve been communicating to both passengers and drivers that the priority for every taxicab and for-hire vehicle ride must be safety and not speed and the change to 25 mph as a default speed limit will certainly help us to magnify that message,” said TLC Commissioner and Chair Meera Joshi. “Many of our driver licensees have already shown themselves to be effective partners in the Mayor’s Vision Zero plan, and the new speed limit will bring many more of our drivers into that very important fold.”

DOT and NYPD have already turned the focus of their joint Vision Zero Street Team efforts, which began this year, to the 25 mph campaign. Last week, the teams distributed over 16,000 flyers on Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island and are currently focusing on White Plains Road in the Bronx.  The joint agency Street Team effort combines education efforts by both agencies leading up to concentrated NYPD enforcement targeting hazardous violations in the given area. So far this year, Street Teams have had hundreds of thousands of interactions with motorists, pedestrians and cyclists the City. Enforcement from NYPD has increased since 2013: failure to yield summons increased 147 percent from 10,703 in 2013 to 26,482 in 2014; speeding summons increased 36 percent from 65,985 in 2013 to 89,630 in 2014, calendar year to date.

The public outreach campaign for the new speed limit will be substantial and far reaching.  DOT has been in close contact with partners such as elected officials, BIDs, Community Boards, community based organizations, religious institutions and non-profits to help spread the word to their constituencies and audiences. On the advertising side, DOT placed AM/FM Radio ads in addition to online/satellite radio ads, all of which are set to begin airing today.  The advertising outreach also encompasses web and newspaper ads to begin later this month.

Social media will continue to play a critical role in the public outreach process, highlighted by the “25 People of 25 mph” daily social media campaign, launched yesterday.  The campaign will feature a photograph of a New Yorker along with a caption about why they would like drivers to slow down in NYC each day. New Yorkers profiled include families impacted by traffic fatalities, new drivers, concerned citizens, advocates and elected officials. The first installment of the “25 People of 25 mph” featured “Amy, Gary & Tamar,” the family of Sammy Cohen Eckstein, a 12-year old killed by a van last year on Prospect Park West. Today’s participant is Chief Thomas Chan and tomorrow’s will be Allie, a college student and driver on Staten Island who speaks about her younger sister being a new driver. The campaign will be on DOT’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Flickr pages.

DOT will place ads and reminders for the new speed limit at the Staten Island Ferry terminals, at municipal parking lots, on its truck fleet and muni-meter receipts.  Variable message boards (VMS) throughout the City will also display a message on the new law, thousands of mailings from the agency will carry the message, and at the end of the month, DOT and NYPD will conduct a citywide Day of Public Awareness, distributing hundreds of thousands of postcards to motorists at a dozen locations around the City.

The TLC is taking a number of steps to ensure that taxi driver licensees are aware of the new 25 mph default speed limit in New York City.  Using various tools at their disposal, they are disseminating the message to all seven of the TLC’s regulated industries.  For example, TLC is utilizing the Driver Information Monitors (DIM) that are present in each yellow medallion taxicab and Boro Taxi to send messages to drivers – starting tonight and running through the end of November – alerting them about the new speed limit and when it will be in effect.  TLC will disseminate Industry Notices in English and Spanish that will be accompanied by email blasts to all industry stakeholders with details of the speed limit change.  Additionally, the TLC will be distributing DOT informational palm-cards at licensing and inspection facilities.

TLC is working closely with DOT on enhancing public messaging and developing content that will be displayed on Taxi TV screens, as well as launching a social media campaign across our respective social media outlets.

“The facts are clear – we know that even five miles an hour can make a difference in saving a life. I was proud to lead the fight for Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan in Albany and make pedestrian safety a priority. By lowering the speed limit to 25mph we send a strong message to reckless drivers and ensure that our streets are safe,” said Senate Co-leader Jeffrey D. Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester).  

“Today marks the kick-off of New York City’s “25 Days to 25 mph campaign,” and it is badly needed,” Speaker Sheldon Silver said. “Too often we hear tragic stories of families who have lost a loved one in a crash that could have been prevented. One more life lost to a speeding car on New York City streets is one too many. Lowering the speed limit will save countless lives.”

“This critical change in our traffic code will save countless lives and greatly increase safety all across the city,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I’d like to thank Council Members Greenfield and Rodriguez for their leadership with this legislation, and all my colleagues for their collaboration in this process. The Council and this Administration share a vision for making New York City as safe as possible for pedestrians, motorists, cyclists, and all who share the road.”

“Studies prove that even a small reduction of 5 mph can save thousands of lives,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “Under Vision Zero we as a city, from drivers to pedestrians alike, must dedicate ourselves to reimagining the way we approach our roadways to produce safer streets. I praise Mayor De Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for their leadership.”

“I commend Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg, Taxi and Limousine Commission Chairwoman Joshi and New York Police Department Chief of Transportation Chan on their commitment to improving the safety of our roads for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. “We know that with a lower speed limit we will reduce not only the number of crashes, but also the severity of those crashes that occur. Each year, 250 people in New York City are killed in vehicular crashes, and another 4,000 people are seriously injured. As New Yorkers, we share a responsibility to eliminate this threat to our children and families. A speed limit of 25-miles-per-hour will save lives in New York City. As we transition our city into the 25 mile-per- hour speed limit, I encourage the De Blasio administration to initiate a public awareness campaign that for all New Yorkers and those motorists visiting our city to remain conscious of the newly-implemented life-saving measure on our city’s streets.”

“After a devastating surge of pedestrian tragedies in my community early this year, I was proud to introduce the bill in Albany to enable the coming speed limit reduction. I know this change will save lives and protect families, and will be a crucial part of making our streets safer and our communities more livable for all,” said Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell (D-Manhattan).

“Speed is too often a factor in preventable crashes where New Yorkers, particularly seniors and children are killed or injured. The reduction of New York City’s speed limit to 25 mph makes our streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.

“I am proud to have lead the fight to make our city’s streets safer,” said Council Member David Greenfield. “Far too many people have died or been seriously injured in collisions in our city and I’m pleased that we are lowering the speed-limit to address this critical issue. Changing the default speed limit to 25 mph will save countless lives, reduce car crashes, improve the flow of traffic and make our streets safer for both drivers and pedestrians.”

“​With a 25 mph speed limit going into effect, professional drivers regulated by the city ​have an opportunity to lead by example and ​set the tone for other New York City motorists by adhering strictly to the new law,” said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White. “The city’s fleet — including vehicles operated by the Department of Transportation and the NYPD — along with the Taxi and Limousine Commission, accounts for nearly 200,000 professional drivers. On the streets daily and highly visible, these drivers should receive thorough Vision Zero training and be held to the highest standard so that the public gets the message that there will be zero tolerance for speeding.”

“The change to a 25-mile-per-hour citywide speed limit is a lifesaving change. It makes everyone who uses our streets, especially the most vulnerable, safer and sends an important message to all New Yorkers: slow down and help stop the epidemic of traffic violence on our streets, said Amy Cohen, founding member of Families for Safe Streets. “For those of us who drive, this change should be seen as an opportunity to become a lifesaver.  A 25 mph speed limit gives motorists more time to react when the unexpected happens, as it so often does on our streets. And even if a crash can’t be avoided, it’s less likely to be fatal at 25 mph. If this new and safer speed limit is obeyed and properly enforced, New York City can reduce the number of people senselessly killed and seriously injured in traffic. Families for Safe Streets exists to remind the public of our shared responsibility to slow down so that no more New Yorkers need to know the serious injuries or loss that we have been forced to live with.”