With Mayor de Blasio looking to gain home rule over NYC’s red light and speed cameras as part of the Vision Zero Action Plan, Transportation Alternatives wants to take your requests for camera locations to Albany.
Here’s why local control is critical: Currently, Albany has limited NYC to a handful of speed cameras that can only be used during school hours and don’t ticket drivers unless they exceed the speed limit by 11 or more miles per hour. State law also limits speed camera placement to “a distance not to exceed 1,320 feet on a highway passing a school building, entrance or exit of a school abutting on the highway.” So rather than siting the cameras within a quarter-mile radius of a school, DOT can only put them on streets that go directly past schools. That means streets with dangerous speeding problems can’t get camera enforcement, hampering efforts to keep kids safe.
Though NYC has had red light cameras for two decades, it’s still considered a pilot program, and remains under the control of state lawmakers. The program is up for reauthorization this year, and there are two active bills that would expand its reach. Legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Carl Heastie and State Senator Tony Avella would increase the number of camera locations from the current 150 to 225 and 250, respectively. The program was last expanded in 2009.
Automated traffic enforcement is a proven life saver. Cameras are responsible for more than 95 percent of all red-light running summonses issued in NYC, according to TA, and serious injuries are down 56 percent at locations where red light cameras are installed.
To rally support for more traffic cameras, TA has posted a form for New Yorkers to list intersections “where red-light running or speeding is common.” Multiple forms may be filed to nominate multiple locations.
“As the automated enforcement debate heats up,” writes TA, “advocates will hand-deliver your red-light and speed camera requests to State Legislators.”
TA says the camera request form will be up for at least two months.