Despite earlier statements that a vote on a bill to lower the city's speed limit in some neighborhoods would happen before the end of the calendar year, the council is tabling it -- for now.
"Due to strong opposition to this life-saving legislation within the Bloomberg administration, I believe it will be more beneficial to reintroduce my legislation next year," said Councilman David Greenfield, the sponsor of the legislation.
He added: "There is no question that speeding drivers are one of the biggest threats to pedestrian safety in New York City. I am committed to reintroducing a bill in the next Council that will do what we have always set out to do - save as many lives as possible by lowering the speed limit in a responsible manner."
Marc LaVorgna, a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg, says while the mayor supports the spirit of the legislation, the bill as written is too complicated. LaVorgna said the mayor would support dropping the speed limit citywide to 25 MPH.
Currently, the speed limit in New York City is 30 MPH.
Paul Steely White, the head of the safety advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, was optimistic. "There is a strong consensus among all the players that lives can be saved with lower speed limits," he said. "The question that looms is: what's the most efficient and effective way to do that?"
The next version of the bill, he said, might be even stronger -- especially if Melissa Mark-Viverito becomes the next City Council speaker. "She has been a strong leader on safe and livable streets," he said, referring to her work on the redesign of First and Second Avenues.
The bill, which was introduced two years ago but has had special urgency in the wake of several high-profile child pedestrian deaths, had already undergone several revisions. Its most recent iteration would have changed the speed limit on one-way, one-lane streets to 25 MPH -- a far cry from its original goal of lowering the speed limit on certain streets to 20 MPH.
But waiting for the de Blasio administration -- with its "vision zero" traffic safety goal and an incoming police commissioner who says he's eager to address traffic enforcement -- may pay off.
"The political infrastructure is in flux right now," said Steely White. "It's prudent to wait until the dust settles on the new Council and give the (yet-to-be-named) transportation commissioner a chance to evaluate most cost-effective way forward."