Speed changes permitted for more New York towns?

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/19/2015

More locales throughout New York could soon be in line to set their own speed limits.

New York law now requires most towns to petition the state Department of Transportation to set local speed limits. However, villages, cities and about 80 towns with populations exceeding 50,000 are exempt from the requirement.

Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensberry, has renewed her effort to authorize all towns to enact ordinances to set speed limits within their own jurisdictions. According to state figures, the change would affect about 852 towns throughout the state.

The Senate voted unanimously to advance a previous effort from Little to create a uniform policy treating all municipalities the same. However, the 2014 bill died in the Assembly.

Little has referred to the legislation as a “mandate relief measure.”

“Towns in New York are required to jump through a hoop that villages, cities and some very large towns don’t have to, costing them time and money,” she said in a previous news release.

The bill would authorize towns to set speed limits on all town highways that are classified as local roads. Speeds would be posted below the 55 mph maximum speed limit.

Little said the change is needed because as the population of many towns increases, the need to address road safety through speed limits in a timely fashion also increases.

The DOT would continue to have jurisdiction to set speed limits on town roads for towns that don’t want to do it themselves.

The bill, S1216, awaits consideration in the Senate Transportation Committee. A similar effort, A1191, underway in the Assembly would grant the authority to change speeds for towns with populations of at least 25,000. It is in the Assembly Transportation Committee.

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