Speed Limits To Drop On West Side Highway

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The speed limit is changing along the West Side Highway, dropping from 35 mph to 30 mph.

City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg says signs posting the new speed limit will go up on Saturday between 59th Street and Battery Place.

Three speed cameras along that five-mile strip will also be dropped downward and the traffic lights will also be adjusted to favor a 30-mile-per-hour speed limit.

"So if you drive at that speed you will get more green lights. It will encourage you to obey the speed limit," Trottenberg said. "If you the motorist are driving at a safe speed, if a collision happens, for whatever reason, you will have more reaction time and it is so much less likely that that collision will be fatal."

The city is trying to make the roadway safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Mary Beth Kelly, whose husband was killed on the West Side Highway 13 years ago as they biked near 38th Street, calls reducing the speed limit a no-brainer.

"A tow truck took a fast turn off the highway because he was going at the clip I'm sure that all the cars were going and just pulled in, missed me, hit my husband," Kelly said. 

Her husband died three days later from his injuries. 

Wider curbs that will keep cars from cutting too close to the sidewalk will also be installed and pedestrians will have more time to cross the street at several lights, including one at Chambers Street that’s adjacent to Stuyvesant High School and another at the busy intersection at 14th Street.