Council Passes Resolution Asking Albany for Speed Cams; Will Senate Say Yes?

This afternoon, the City Council passed a resolution asking Albany to move forward with legislation allowing New York City to install a speed camera demonstration program.

The driver who killed the Glauber family in Williamsburg was traveling at nearly 70 mph -- more than double the speed limit. Photo: Shimon Gifter via ##http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2013/03/04/expectant-parents-die-crash-infant-survives/d7u4OY7mDni3dCqxUXnSrJ/story.html##AP##

Speed cameras are supported by the City Council, Mayor Bloomberg, NYC DOT, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and a majority of the city’s Assembly delegation.

The program is opposed by State Senator Marty Golden and the Police Benevolent Association, who say that speed cameras are not a substitute for officers with radar guns. Other elected officials have pointed out that cameras and officers are not mutually exclusive.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has included speed cameras in the Assembly budget. The program could be enacted through budget legislation, if it survives ongoing negotiations with Governor Cuomo and Senate leadership.

If not, separate legislation enabling the speed camera program must pass the Assembly and Senate before going to Cuomo.

More than 125 jurisdictions across the country use speed cameras, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. New York City’s program would be limited to no more than 20 cameras in operation at any given time, with a cap of 40 cameras deployed citywide. Fines would not exceed $50 for driving 10-30 mph over the speed limit, and not more than $100 for speeding more than 30 mph over the limit.

Before today’s vote, Council Member Dan Halloran said that automated enforcement is motivated by a thirst for money. “Believe me, this mayor will make it all about revenue and we’ll all pay the price,” he said, adding that he does not trust the existing red light camera program.

Council Members Gale Brewer, Robert Jackson, Stephen Levin, and Jimmy Van Bramer spoke in support of speed cameras before the resolution passed. “This is not about money,” Jackson said, noting the danger of speeding drivers in his district.

“The fact of the matter is that speeding in New York City kills people,” Levin said, referencing the speeding driver who killed the Glauber family in his district. “We have a problem in this city in the amount of enforcement that we do on speeding.”

The council also passed on voice vote a resolution asking Albany to close a loophole in Hayley and Diego’s Law, encouraging NYPD to enforce the state’s careless driving law even if an officer does not personally witness a violation but has reasonable cause to issue a citation.

  • Honestly I don’t understand the ‘softly softly’ approach to speed cameras. They’re proven to reduce average speeds, and combined speed/red light cameras massively cut down on intersection collisions and fatalaties.

    Hypothecate the revenue raised to street safety, if people are concerned it’s a tax grab, or institute a ‘licence demerit point’ system (so the fine may not be huge, but if you get caught more than 5 times in 2 years, you lose your licence for a year, etc). (see http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/Licences/DemeritsAndOffences/DemeritPointsAndFines/)

  • KillMoto

    Barring permission from Mother Albany, the city can still traffic calm streets where motorist mayhem is at its peak. I’m thinking, park a DOT dump truck mid block where mototerrorists hit top speed. I’m thinking use jersey barriers to neck-down wide speedways as they neat dangerous intersections.

    If depravedly indifferent drivers hit these obstacles, the city has probable cause to find out how fast they were going, and the NYPD Crash Investigation Squad can take just a little of their time to read the vehicle’s black box to see if that motorist was recklessly endangering themselves, and others, at time of impact…

  • Anonymous

    It’s pretty simple. These people represent constituents who regularly travel over the speed limit. They do it because they can get away with it, and wish to continue doing so. Capiche?

  • Joe R.

    Another approach if you’re really concerned about the cameras being seen as a money grab is to institute community service instead of a fine. Maybe have people who get caught by the cameras put in a few hours cleaning debris from bike paths or doing some other function related to safer streets. Certainly there’s plenty of work which needs to be done which the city can’t afford to have paid workers doing. It might also give these people a view from the other side of the windshield.

  • But arbitrarily limiting the cameras installations to 40 and the number in use to 20 doesn’t serve people who like speeding either. It’s just enough cameras that all speeders are likely to get caught, sooner or later, by a camera they don’t know is on. It is the crazy person’s way of trying to please selfish, dangerous people who can not be pleased.

    Having different limits for the number installed and in use is where we get into the true psychedelic depravity of New York governance. How about a cap on the number of city park water fountains that may dispense water at one time? And all those streetlights burning the electric all night? There oughtta be a law!

    But I’m not against against the legislative effort, at all. Do your crazy stupid thing, lawmakers.

  • I’m all about traffic enforcement but this bill is pathetic. Only 40 cameras? Only $100 fine for traveling twice the speed limit?!?!

    I really hope this bill dies, as passing it would mean the end of the conversation on camera enforcement for many years. Let’s get it right.

  • Anonymous

    The police should give memorialize every camera with the name of someone killed by a speeding driver.

  • moocow

    While I agree with you, and like those ideas Killmoto, I don’t think the people who could make this happen and would be needed to support it believe there is a speeding problem in New York City

  • Adam.Anon

    Yup. That’s pretty underwhelming and disappointing. It won’t change anything in reality. Total letdown.

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