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Editorial: Time to Slow Down

It’s official. The default city speed limit is now 25 MPH – a move that safety advocates hope will save lives.

We hope so too.

With a rash of pedestrian and cyclist deaths haunting New York, something certainly needs to be done to make the streets of New York safer for all.

Senior citizens need to feel that they can cross the street at their own pace without putting their lives at risk, and parents need to feel secure that their children are not in danger every time they step off the curb, whether clinging to an adult’s hand or on their own.

That said, the jury is still out as to whether the change – the centerpiece of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan targeted at reducing and eventually eliminating pedestrian deaths, and making New York’s streets generally safer for all who utilize them – will work as intended.

Many safety advocates have lauded the lower speed limit as an important piece of the solution to a deadly problem. At the same time, others have disagreed, contending that reducing the speed limit could actually encourage speeding by frustrated drivers.

To make an ultimate determination as to the change’s effectiveness, we will need to turn to statistics, after all the signs have been changed and all the traffic lights have been retimed, and the new lower speed limit has been in place for a while, with appropriate enforcement.

Because one thing is clear – no speed limit will be religiously adhered to if enforcement is lax. But, on the other hand, overzealous enforcement would turn what should be a tool for increasing safety into a tool for generating revenue. And, that, certainly, would be unacceptable, as well.

ON TRACK TO BECOME ATTORNEY GENERAL

Our congratulations to Loretta Lynch, federal attorney in the Eastern District of New York, headquartered here in Brooklyn, on her nomination by President Barack Obama to be the United States’ next attorney general.

Over a long and stellar career, Lynch has proven to be a true public servant, both fair and tough, as she has prosecuted a series of high-profile cases, from the assault on Abner Louima in the 70th Precinct station house in 1997 to the betrayal of the public trust by elected officials such as former State Senator Pedro Espada and former Assemblymember William Boyland, Jr.

We believe she will bring to the office of attorney general the same professionalism and intelligence as she has repeatedly displayed here in Brooklyn, and that the whole country will benefit from her appointment.

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