Electeds and advocates have until June to push speed camera legislation through Albany, as the proposed NYC demonstration program was not part of this year’s state budget deal.
Speed cameras were included in the State Assembly budget. The program has the endorsement of Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council, and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. But despite overwhelming support from city government, State Senator Marty Golden joined the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association in lobbying against the cameras, saying that speed enforcement should be the exclusive province of police officers.
Said Golden to the Daily News: “What we need are the actual police officers on the street. Cops on the street are what slows people down.”
In reality, traffic cameras are highly effective at reducing speeding, red light-running, and crashes. In D.C., speed cameras led to an 82 percent reduction in drivers exceeding the speed limit by 10 mph or more, according to Richard Retting, the director of safety and research at Sam Schwartz Engineering.
Regardless, as one of three Republicans in the Senate who represent the city, Golden has the power to head off whatever NYC-related legislation he doesn’t like, for whatever reason.
“The Senate was not supposed to be a problem, because so many of them aren’t from the city,” says Juan Martinez, general counsel for Transportation Alternatives. “The Assembly was supposed to be the issue.”
Though speed cameras now have the support of the Assembly, as of now there is no bill to move the program along this session. Martinez believes there’s still “a solid shot” that it will happen.
“Marty Golden does not know how to conquer speeding better than Ray Kelly does,” Martinez says. “That’s not a bad position to be in. Between now and the end of June, we just have to hustle harder.”
Speeding was the leading factor in fatal NYC crashes last year, according to NYC DOT. A 2009 TA study found that a NYC motorist could speed every day and get a ticket once every 35 years. Crash data compiled by Streetsblog show that since January 2012 at least five pedestrians have been killed by motorists in the precincts encompassed by Golden’s Senate district.
Multiple queries to Golden’s office have not been returned.