There is no denying the fact that New York City is a pedestrian's city. Even though the streets are always congested with cars and trucks, many people live without cars. In some respects, not having a car can be safer, as there are far fewer chances of getting into a car accident, but pedestrians are not always safe.
There have been numerous stories in Manhattan, and really all the boroughs, of speeding drivers causing serious, if not fatal pedestrian accidents. So, with an eye on pedestrian safety, the New York City Department of Transportation is trying to get drivers to slow down.
The arterial slow zone program looks to some of the traffic-heavy streets in the city and lowers the speed limit. While only two streets have had their speed limits lowered since the beginning of the program, one in Brooklyn and one in the Bronx, two more arterial roadways have been made part of the program. Canal Street and a specific stretch of Broadway, both in Manhattan, will be the newest additions. Whether any streets in Queens or Staten Island will be part of the 25 zones to be added to the program remains to be seen.
Programs designed to lower the risk of pedestrian injury are important. Pedestrians don't really stand a chance against cars, especially when they are speeding, so reducing the speed limit will hopefully reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Since the program is relatively new, it is not entirely clear whether this program will have a sizable impact on pedestrian safety.
Source: Downtown Express, "City to make hazardous Canal St. a slow zone next month," Sam Spokony, May 1, 2014