Quinn and Vacca Urge City Council Support for Bus Cameras

potential_nostrand_sbs.jpgNew York City’s plans for dedicated bus lanes, as proposed for the Nostrand Avenue corridor in Brooklyn, depend on Albany’s willingness to allow camera enforcement. Image: NYCDOT

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and transportation committee chair Jimmy Vacca gave better service for New York City bus riders a boost yesterday, speaking in favor of bus lane enforcement legislation currently making its way through Albany. The legislation is a critical component in the city’s plans to expand and enhance Select Bus Service, including the route on First and Second Avenues officially announced yesterday.

While the state legislature will ultimately decide the fate of the bus cam bill, before that can happen, the City Council has to pass a "home rule message" supporting the measure. At a meeting of the council’s Democratic caucus yesterday, both Quinn and Vacca spoke in support of bus lane cameras.

"The discussion was very positive," said Vacca. "If we’re asking people to get out of their cars, it’s helpful, especially in Manhattan, to allow people to get into buses that move faster. This will help buses move faster."

The council may vote on the home rule request as soon as tomorrow. 

In Albany, the Senate Transportation Committee will vote on the bus cam bill today. A reliable source tells us that he expects the bill to pass the transportation committee and the full Senate soon. 

The Assembly, however, has always been the heavier lift for bus lane cameras. The same source tells us that transportation committee chair David Gantt remains opposed to camera enforcement and that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who could advance the legislation at any time, has given no indication of which way he’s leaning.

The bill currently has 47 sponsors, 19 of whom serve on the 26-person transportation committee. The main sponsor in the Assembly, Jonathan Bing, has filed a procedural motion that will guarantee a vote in committee if the City Council passes a home rule message. Without the approval of Silver and the Assembly leadership, however, that vote could still go nowhere, despite broad support on the committee. 

  • Noah, if you guys have the time, I’d love to hear more about this “home rule” nonsense, and why it’s required.

  • Or, more to the point, why must we go to the state legislature at all? And if we have to go to the state legislature for something this trivial, why have a “home rule” process. Sounds like a good target for reform.

  • Boris

    “Home rule” vote requirements are just an Albany power grab. Not only must NYC approach the state for permission to do any little thing, but the City Council must also explicitly vote on agreeing to do it – making it that much harder to change anything. Of course it makes no sense, because if the city doesn’t want bus cams and the state votes to legalize them, the city should be free to simply ignore the measure.

  • And hence the reason for the symbolic secession bills which pop up in City Council every few years!

  • isn’t albany’s ability to rule over nyc based on the state bailing us out from debt in the 1970s?

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