Unless Klein Acts Before Midnight, 25 MPH Bill Could Turn Into Pumpkin

Efforts to lower New York City’s default speed limit to 25 mph could live or die tonight, depending on whether Senate leadership steps up. The clock is ticking: If the Senate’s majority coalition doesn’t introduce a bill before midnight, it will likely require emergency action from the governor in order to be considered during this session. Advocates are asking Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein to take action tonight.

The clock is ticking for Sen. Jeff Klein to introduce a 25 mph speed limit bill. Photo: NY Senate

Advocates are looking to Klein, who helped create and expand the city’s school zone speed camera program, to introduce a companion speed limit bill to Assembly legislation (A09731) backed by Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Last Wednesday, Klein told the Daily News that he would introduce a bill to lower the limit to 25 mph on streets with two lanes or less. But Klein’s plan also included a big step backward, by requiring community board approval before DOT could lower the speed limit on the city’s most dangerous arterial streets. Klein said he would introduce a bill by the end of last week. On Thursday, Mayor de Blasio’s team met with Klein about the speed limit, according to Newsday. So far, Klein has failed to put forward any legislation.

Unless the legislature convenes an emergency session later this year, the final day of business for lawmakers is Thursday. If Klein introduces his own bill after midnight tonight, it would require a “message of necessity” from Governor Cuomo, to skip the mandatory three-day period between when a bill is introduced and when it can receive a vote. Cuomo has issued these emergency messages before, usually for major legislative priorities. Klein could add his name to the existing Senate speed limit bill (S6496A), but that’s unlikely because the legislation would remain under the control of mainline Senate Democrats.

Transportation Alternatives is asking New Yorkers to call Senator Klein’s office at (518) 455-3595 and tweet him @JeffKleinNY to urge him to introduce a 25 mph bill in the Senate tonight.

Update: More than 500 people have contacted Klein today about the speed limit bill, according to TA.