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NYC Set To Drop Speeds On West Side Highway South Of 59th – CBS New York


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Traffic on the West Side Highway is about to move even slower. City and state officials want to reduce the speed limit in order to keep pedestrians and cyclists safer.

Expect to see speed limits dropped from 35 mph to 30 mph south of 59th Street by this Saturday. Department of Transportation officials said it’s one of many changes on that stretch of road that will hopefully lower fatality rates.

Route 9A may be called the West Side Highway, but new changes will be forcing drivers to treat it more like a street.

The West Side Highway (Credit: CBS2)

“Adjusting speed limits to safer travel speeds has been among the keys to saving lives under Vision Zero,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement. “With the growth of Hudson River Park and the Greenway, the country’s busiest bike path, never mind great gathering places like Chelsea Piers, it is quite clear that the old ‘West Side Highway’ is now more boulevard than highway — and this new speed limit reflects that evolution. We thank our partners at the State Department of Transportation for working with the City to make the West Side Highway safer for all of its users.”

Web Extra: DOT Lowering Speed On West Side Highway:

Some drivers told CBS2’s Christina Fan on Thursday the initiative is necessary.

“There are a lot of risk takers in traffic, a lot of guys skipping lights,” one driver said.

“I think it’s a pretty good idea,” another said.

MORE: Gov. Cuomo: NYC Subway Trains Will Soon Be Speeding Up

The idea of dropping the speed between 59th and Battery Place is to make drivers yield more to pedestrians and cyclists. But some drivers have concerns.

“I think that the speed limit is fine. It keeps traffic moving. People, for the most part, I find when I’m biking, obey the laws,” one driver said.

“I don’t know if it’s necessary or not. I feel like things will still go along the same speed unless they have increased enforcement of it,” another driver added.

FLASHBACK: NYC’s New 25 MPH Speed Limit Goes Into Effect On Most City Streets

The DOT is also working on other design changes, including adding new right-turn traffic lights at southbound intersections. The agency also plans to extend curbs to keep cars from cutting too close to the sidewalk.

“It can’t hurt to have curb extensions, especially down by the schools where lots of kids are crossing,” a driver said.

But some drivers say this is just another attempt to shift blame of recent fatalities on to drivers when they are not the only problem. Some cited an increase in scooters and bikes on the roads.

“They are electric and they are going excessively fast, so I think that’s the problem,” one driver said.

Under the plan, pedestrians will be given additional time to cross the street at several intersections. The changes are expected to take place within the next month.

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