Requires department of transportation to defer to town board requests for speed limit, signage and signal changes on state highway, county road and town highways where public safety nexus exists.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to giving local town boards the discretion to change speed limits for safety
PURPOSE: This bill gives to town boards the authority to set reasonable speed limits and post traffic signage on state roads when such town can show to the Department of Transportation (DOT) a nexus between public safety concerns and the need for a change in speed limits.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Amends Vehicle & Traffic Law section 1620 so that DOT must defer to a town's request for speed limit change on state roads within such town when there is a nexus between the current designated special limits and the presence of adverse safety conditions or traffic patterns that can cause the creation of an unsafe roadway condition on such state highway.
Section 2: Amends Vehicle & Traffic Law section 1621 so that DOT must defer to a town's request for a new speed limit change, as specified above, on state highways if there is a dangerous condition that necessitates that the state highway speed limit should be reduced.
Section 3: Amends Vehicle & Traffic Law section 1622 to provide for the same authority to towns as stated above for county roads or town roads that have had speed limited designations established by DOT.
EXISTING LAW: Currently, cities and villages have the authority to establish speed limits on state roads located within such cities or villages, however, town governments do not have the same authority.
JUSTIFICATION: Under current law, this State's cities and villages may set the speed limit and placement of traffic signage on state highways in their jurisdictions. However, town governments do not have such authority and are therefore dependent on the judgment of DOT to set the rules of the road on state highways within their jurisdiction This is true even if town police have jurisdiction over all public safety issues pertaining to such state highways. This bill gives parity to town governments that wish to establish speed limits and traffic signage on state highways just as cities and villages are able to do now.
Sometimes, the pace at which town requests to DOT jar approval of suggested roadway speed reductions can take over one year. However, during this same period of time, the dangerous road conditions can continue to persist which heightens the danger of automobile accidents, personal injury and even death This bill will give towns more flexibility to control speed limits within their jurisdictions and help to reduce motor vehicle accidents and person injury.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.906 of 2007/2008 Referred to Transportation S.1151 of 2009/2010 Referred to Transportation S.1507 of 2011/2012 Passed Senate
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediate.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 278 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sens. LARKIN, BONACIC -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to giving local town boards the discretion to change speed limits for safety THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 1620 of the vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new subdivision (d) to read as follows: (D) THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SHALL DEFER TO REQUESTS FOR SPEED LIMIT CHANGES BY THE TOWN BOARD OF A TOWN OR TOWNS AFFECTED WITH RESPECT TO STATE HIGHWAYS MAINTAINED BY THE STATE IN SUCH TOWN OR TOWNS OUTSIDE OF CITIES OR VILLAGES, WHERE A REASONABLE NEXUS BETWEEN PUBLIC SAFETY AND SUCH REQUEST FOR A CHANGE IN SPEED LIMIT EXISTS. S 2. Section 1621 of the vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new subdivision (e) to read as follows: (E) THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SHALL DEFER TO REQUESTS FOR SIGNAGE AND SIGNAL CHANGES BY THE TOWN BOARD OF A TOWN OR TOWNS AFFECTED WITH RESPECT TO STATE HIGHWAYS MAINTAINED BY THE STATE IN SUCH TOWN OR TOWNS OUTSIDE OF CITIES OR VILLAGES, WHERE A REASONABLE NEXUS BETWEEN PUBLIC SAFETY AND SUCH REQUEST FOR A CHANGE IN SIGNAGE AND SIGNALS EXISTS. S 3. Section 1622 of the vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new subdivision 3 to read as follows: 3. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION, IF ANY REASONABLE NEXUS EXISTS BETWEEN PUBLIC SAFETY AND THE REQUEST BY A COUN- TY SUPERINTENDENT OF HIGHWAYS OF A COUNTY OR A TOWN BOARD, FOR A CHANGE IN SPEED LIMIT, THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SHALL DEFER TO THE COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF HIGHWAYS' OR TOWN BOARD'S REQUEST IN SETTING THE SPEED LIMIT ON THE COUNTY ROADS AND TOWN HIGHWAYS IN SUCH TOWN OR TOWNS OUTSIDE OF CITIES OR VILLAGES. S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01347-01-3