Brooklyn state Senator Simcha Felder has introduced a bill that would raise the speed limit on Ocean Parkway to 30 miles per hour, rolling back the slower citywide speed limit for the five-mile length of the thoroughfare, which runs close to his Kensington home.

Felder is one of a coterie of southern Brooklyn politicians who have long chafed at road safety measures, and who have grown in volume in response to the traffic-calming road redesigns and driver regulations of Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative. In November 2014, the city reduced the default speed limit to 25 miles per hour as part of the campaign. In 2015, the Department of Transportation's Pedestrian Safety Action plan identified Ocean Parkway, which runs from Kensington to Brighton Beach, as a priority corridor, to be considered for redesigns, new signage, and changed signal timing. With 8 pedestrian deaths and 64 pedestrians seriously injured from 2009-2013, the road ranked as the fourth most dangerous for people on foot in Brooklyn.

In addition to reducing the speed limit along Ocean Parkway, the city installed speed cameras near two schools along it. Felder approved the citywide speed limit change when it went before the Senate, but was the only Democrat to vote against allowing the city to install speed cameras.

From 2014 to 2016, crashes on Ocean Parkway dropped, from 1,034 to 880, and fatalities did too, from one pedestrian and one motorist in 2014, to one motorist in 2016.

At a press conference earlier this week, de Blasio unequivocally denounced Felder's proposed reversal, saying, "I think it would make people less safe, and we’re going to fight against any measure that would make New Yorkers less safe." DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said that the numbers show "the strategy is working on Ocean Parkway."

In an impassioned Facebook post, area Councilman Brad Lander said that Felder's bill would roll back the progress made on street safety in the past three years, writing:

Not satisfied with preventing pedestrian deaths, State Senator Simcha Felder (remember him?) has introduced a bill (S. 5170) that would overturn our citywide speed limit, and put a higher one in place on Ocean Parkway, near his house. The State Senate GOP is supporting it. The [Independent Democratic Conference] too, of course. And there is now a companion bill in the NYS Assembly, sponsored by Steve Cymbrowitz (A. 6724).

To make matters worse, the Senate version is part of their budget package, so it could move quickly, in the dark of night.

It is no longer surprising for the State Legislature to disregard the laws of NYC, or the well-being of New Yorkers. But it’s no less deadly for being predictable.

Candace Giove, a spokeswoman for the IDC, the breakaway Democratic group that works with the Republicans in the Senate, did not answer whether the group is supporting the bill. Asked how the bill is in line with the conference's "pragmatic progressive" ethos, Giove said, "There's no Democratic or Republican way to deal with a hyper-local road issue, which is customarily handled by local legislators based on constituent concerns as is the case for the Ocean Avenue [sic] legislation by Senator Felder and Assemblyman Cymbrowitz."

Felder, who is a Democrat on paper but in a week will receive an award from the Brooklyn Conservative Party, takes things a step further than the IDC, caucusing directly with GOP senators. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Long Island Republican, and a spokeswoman for Cymbrowitz, a Democrat from Brighton Beach, also did not respond to emails.

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In a phone conversation with Gothamist, Lander said that the proposed bill represents an infringement on New York City's home rule in line with the state legislature shooting down the city's plastic bag ban. Having initially had concerns about changes to Fourth Avenue in Park Slope, he said he could understand why drivers facing alterations to their neighborhood streets would feel the way Felder does, but not why anyone would make this their next step.

"To me, if you and your family live near a dangerous street you would be enthusiastic about improvements that make it safer to walk," he said. "I think it is outrageous and dangerous, and I don't know what's behind it. People are thinking more primarily in their driving hats. [Near Fourth Avenue,] once people looked at the big picture and looked potentially at the lives that could be saved, they concluded that the modest inconvenience was outweighed by the lifesaving benefits."

Over the winter holidays, Governor Cuomo's state Department of Transportation rolled out a slew of road-safety changes to Ocean Parkway as part of Cuomo's long-running, turf-staking feud with the mayor. The changes came over the objections of the city, and particularly Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who like Felder lives a short walk (or drive) from the thoroughfare. Felder issued a statement in support of Hikind's rally against redirecting right turns to the parkway's service roads, saying that residents were "confused and angry" about the plan. The state went through with the changes anyway.

Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely White said the speed limit bill would set a "dangerous precedent" and encourage other state legislators to continue to pick at the city speed limit street by street. Citing data that shows that the five-mile-per-hour speed reduction dramatically improves a pedestrian's likelihood of surviving being struck by a car, he said in a statement, "We have a proven vaccine against the epidemic of traffic violence, but now a few lawmakers in Albany want to take that lifesaving vaccine away from our children and our seniors, to put the convenience of drivers above the safety of New Yorkers."

Both bills have been referred to transportation committees in the Assembly and Senate.

Felder's office didn't respond by press time.