Most New Yorkers Who Own Cars Support Speed Cameras

Will the three men in a room join New Yorkers who support slowing drivers near schools?
Will the three men in a room join New Yorkers who support slowing drivers near schools?

A broad spectrum of New York City voters approve of putting speed enforcement cameras near schools, and a majority favor expanding the city’s existing speed camera program, according to a poll commissioned by Transportation Alternatives.

Right now, Albany limits NYC to 140 speed enforcement cameras for all 6,000 miles of surface streets in the city. Cameras have to be placed near schools and can be operated only during school hours. As a result, some of the most dangerous streets in the city are ineligible for the cameras, and they’re turned off during low-visibility hours when pedestrians are especially at risk.

Even with those restrictions, cameras caught 10 times as many speeding motorists as NYPD did in 2016.

The poll of 880 likely New York voters by Penn Schoen Berland found that 64 percent “strongly support” using speed cameras in school zones, and 20 percent “somewhat support” it. Only 9 percent of survey participants said they “strongly oppose” speed cameras around schools.

“The level of strong support is significantly higher among women (72 percent) and respondents who identified as Black (78 percent), Hispanic (79 percent), and lower-income (80 percent),” TA noted in a press release.

Support for cameras was not limited to car-free New Yorkers: 60 percent of car owners who participated in the survey indicated strong support for more automated enforcement.

TA estimates that expanding speed camera coverage to all NYC schools would save 100 lives and prevent 2,700 crashes and 1,400 serious injuries a year.

Asked if they support expanding the use of cameras in school zones, 72 percent of poll respondents said they strongly or somewhat support, and 25 percent were somewhat or strongly opposed.

The poll found majority support for expanding automated enforcement outside of school zones as well, with 58 percent strongly or somewhat in favor and 40 percent somewhat or strongly opposed.

Another key finding: 64 percent said speed cameras should be activated 24 hours a day. DOT data show that 85 percent of traffic deaths and serious injuries occur at times and locations that are ineligible for speed camera enforcement under Albany’s restrictions.

“These poll results send a powerful message that people across the five boroughs want greater protection from the reckless speeding that remains a leading killer of New Yorkers and is especially lethal for our children,” said TA Executive Director Paul Steely White in a statement. “In areas where these devices have been installed, we’ve seen a 50 percent drop in speeding on average. We know this Vision Zero tool works. We need to be able to use it to save lives and prevent injuries in every community, at all times.”

Last year members of Families for Safe Streets and dozens of children went to Albany to press for speed cameras outside every school in the city. But Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who represents the Bronx, declined to back even a modest increase in the number of speed cameras allowed in NYC. Jeff Klein, also a Bronx rep and the leader of the Senate’s powerful Independent Democratic Conference, was a no-show, though he has shepherded speed camera legislation in the past.

TA has said it will focus on getting support from Governor Cuomo this session. Members of Families for Safe Streets are meeting with Cuomo staffers in Albany today.

The Every School Speed Safety Camera Act, which TA and Families for Safe Streets hope Cuomo will endorse, would allow speed enforcement cameras at every school in the city, expand where cameras may be deployed to a quarter-mile radius around schools (rather than limiting placement to streets abutting a school entrance), and let the city keep the cameras on at all times.

The bill was sponsored last year by Assembly Member Deborah Glick, of Manhattan, and State Senator Jose Peralta, of Queens.

“Speeding kills more New Yorkers than drunk driving and cell phone use at the wheel combined, and traffic crashes are the number one cause of injury-related death among our kids,” said Amy Cohen, whose 12-year-old son Sammy was killed by a speeding driver in Brooklyn, in a statement. “We need them 24/7 on the most dangerous streets that children cross coming to and from school. State lawmakers and the governor must take action this session, so no more families will have to lose loved ones or suffer serious injury because of crashes that we can prevent, caused by reckless behavior we can deter.”

  • com63

    I liked the idea someone had in the comments of just leaving the cameras on all the time and instead of writing tickets, mail letters with speeding statistics to insurance companies.

    The city should also collect data 24/7 and publish the speeds of the worst offenders that are recorded (i.e. at PS71 a driver was clocked at 82mph in a 25 zone at 1:45am on 2/7/17). That would shame Albany.

  • djx

    “cameras caught 10 times as many speeding motorists as NYPD did in 2016.”

    Cameras aside, this is pretty disgraceful for NYPD. Of course, they don’t care.

  • We need speeding cameras on our highways its not safe and our hard working law makers should already implement point system for cameras to

  • Larry Littlefield

    If there were letters to the speeder rather than fines for 5 – 9 mph over the speed limit, and for passing a red within a second of it turning red, there might be more support for the cameras. One letter per day, not per intersection.

    There could be a fine for repeat offenders. People would understand that they were given a chance to drive differently, and did not.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Can’t really do points for cameras, as points are assigned to the driver, not the car. So you’d need to do face recognition, etc.

    Why do you think we need speed cameras for highways?

  • reasonableexplanation

    I’m confused on your stance on the red light part… If you run a red you get a ticket at any camera intersection; those red light cameras don’t have hours of operation like the speed cams do.

  • BubbaJoe123

    “TA estimates that expanding speed camera coverage to all NYC schools would save 100 lives and prevent 2,700 crashes and 1,400 serious injuries a year.”

    I’m strongly in favor of 24/7 speed cams in every school zone, but I have a hard time believing that they would cut total traffic fatalities in the city in half.

  • Frank Kotter

    In Germany, the owner of the car is charged, no matter what. They are responsible for identifying the owner. They system works quite well.

  • reasonableexplanation

    I don’t mind the German system, but it’s very different, and many on these boards would probably object:

    Speed limit exceeded by
    [kph] Euros Points Disqualification [months]
    Up to 10 15
    11 to 15 25
    16 to 20 35
    21 to 25 80 1
    26 to 30 100 3
    31 to 40 160 3 1
    41 to 50 200 4 1
    51 to 60 280 4 2
    61 to 70 480 4 3
    Over 70 680 4 3

    Basically, very small fines, and no points until you go about 13mph over. Contrast that with NY’s system, where up to 10mph over nets you 3 points.

  • Frank Kotter

    38 in a 25 gets you there and 38 is the average in a 25 in America. You don’t need draconian punishment when you have relentlessness enforcement. Hence, the effectiveness of cameras.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Can’t speak for the rest of the US, but in the parts of NYC I’m familiar with it’s uncommon to see those kinds of speeds outside of arterials. 30 or so is more common.

    I would gladly accept German camera scheme if arterials had higher limits and speed bumps were removed.

  • Frank Kotter

    And that is where the conversation breaks down: You see moving private cars through urban areas as fast as possible as your primary goal. Mine is to drastically reduce the danger of the private automobile and improve quality of life in urban and suburban areas.

    Until those goals come into alignment, this will go nowhere.

  • reasonableexplanation

    You’re on to something there, but I look at it slightly differently:

    A lot of folks on this board think like you do: they want to push cars to the margins. Then there’s the polar opposite, the kind of folks you see made fun of here: those who love parking and cars at the expense of everything else.

    I don’t fit into either group, which si why I’m on these board in the first place. I bike, ride, walk, take transit, and drive. And I’m interested in making all of these methods of transport as easy as possible, without pushing any to the margins. Basically, to strike a balance.

    So yes, i do see moving private cars through urban areas as a goal, as well as bikes, motorcycles, buses, and trains. There’s no reason we can’t do all that.

  • Frank Kotter

    Fair enough. However, your comments here have indicated (as I stated above) that your number one concern is the speed at which a private automobile can cross from one side of a city to the other – with your other stated goals you just listed not even registering. Now, I understand your desire to create a counterpoint here to those who would like to totally eliminate cars from metro areas but taken on a whole, your stated opinions here lose their value through this approach.

    As an aside, in Amsterdam, the city often held up as the nirvana of urban planning in non car transportation, has no streets closed to cars, they have simply designed their cities to make it more logical to use any other form. Has nothing to do with ‘pushing to the periphery’ but rather of prioritizing quality of life and personal safety above travel times for people cars.

  • Frank Kotter

    for example: this is what every single street in city center looks like. Not a lot of ‘pushing to the periphery’ going on. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4a04310975ecdeb95504c7b439adc4d9f9233f070990fd29898eaeeaf7e01fc8.jpg

  • reasonableexplanation

    I don’t typically need to argue for bike lanes and such on this site, as that’s accepted opinion here, and i have no issues with them, so I’m put into the position of defending cars most of the time, due to the nature of these boards.

    Basically, if I agree with something, I have no reason to comment/complain.

    But let me lay out what I’d like NYC’s transportation picture look like, and lets see if you agree:

    Cars:
    -Slow speeds on local streets (15/20/25), high speeds on arterials (40/45), higher speed limits on existing highways (make the speeds people actually travel on them now match the speed limits, for example, 60/65 instead of 50 on the belt).

    -infrastructure spending on eliminating choke points (of which there are many). If you take a look at the traffic map of NYC during non peak times, look at where there’s red in an otherwise sea of green. Fix those, as this is the ‘seed’ that starts the real traffic when flows increase. In many cases this can mean improving sight lines, adding an interchange/overpass, adjusting light timings, etc.

    -Focus enforcement on double parking on business streets and arterials (e.g. Coney Island Ave). This lowers capacity dramatically for no reason. Ruthlessly ticket double-parkers on non-local streets.

    -More separate left turn arrow signals at busy intersections.

    Bikes:
    -More separated protected bike lanes like PPW. Bloomberg’s policy was good on this issue.

    -Ruthlessly ticket bikers at night without lights.

    -Allow idaho stops for bicycles

    Motorcycles:
    -give large discount to bikers with ez-pass. Maybe >50%. Encourage motorcycles over single occupancy cars.

    -End police harassment of motorcycles (you think bicyclists have it bad? take a look at some nyc motorcycle forums to see what real harassment looks like)

    Pedestrians:
    -Ruthlessly ticket businesses that don’t clean up snow on their sidewalk after a storm. This is far too common.

    -Force food carts to be in the parking lane instead of on the sidewalk.

    -Barnes dance at busy intersections

    Transit:
    -Move back towards electric and hybrid buses (for noise/smell).

    -Continue funding second avenue expansion/east side access/similar projects.

  • We need to punish

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