It’s Time for the State Senate to Step Up and Protect New Yorkers From Speeding Drivers

Senator Jeff Klein has yet to co-sponsor a bill to significantly expand the city's life-saving speed camera program, while Marty Golden continues to be an obstacle to safer streets.

Members of Families for Safe Streets in Albany last month with speed camera bill sponsors Jose Peralta and Deborah Glick and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. Photo: David Meyer
Members of Families for Safe Streets in Albany last month with speed camera bill sponsors Jose Peralta and Deborah Glick and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. Photo: David Meyer

With this year’s legislative session drawing to a close, Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives will hold a rally on Friday calling on Albany to allow NYC to place more speed enforcement cameras around schools.

A bill sponsored in the Assembly by Manhattan rep Deborah Glick and in the State Senate by José Peralta of Queens would expand the number of speed cameras the city is currently authorized to use from 140 to 750.

Albany currently restricts speed camera use to school hours on school days, and limits placement to within a quarter-mile of a school entrance on the street that abuts the school. This means cameras can’t be used on some of the city’s most dangerous streets, and are inactive most of the time.

The bill, which was developed in collaboration with the de Blasio administration, would permit the city to use speed cameras seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It would also loosen restrictions on camera placement, allowing them to be sited with a half-mile radius of “a school building, entrance, or exit.”

Speeding is the leading cause of fatal crashes in NYC, and in locations with camera enforcement it has fallen 60 percent. Cameras are far more effective at catching speeding drivers than NYPD. Most New Yorkers support the speed camera program, even if they own a car.

So far, NYC’s senior Senate Republican, Marty Golden — whose constituents are as susceptible to harm caused by reckless drivers as anyone — has signaled opposition to the bill. Bronx Senator Jeff Klein, who heads the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference, which shares power with Republicans, has not signed on as a co-sponsor.

In 2014 and 2015, reductions in traffic deaths in NYC coincided with the expansion of the speed camera program. Those improvements leveled off when state lawmakers failed to authorize additional cameras last year. With 6,000 miles of surface streets, NYC needs more cameras to further reduce the number of people killed and injured by speeding motorists.

The rally starts Friday at noon on the steps of City Hall.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Transportation Alternatives will hold a rally on Friday calling on Albany to allow NYC to place more speed enforcement cameras around schools.

    and

    The bill…would permit the city to use speed cameras seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It would also loosen restrictions on camera placement, allowing them to be sited with a half-mile radius of “a school building, entrance, or exit.”

    Look, I have nothing against speed cameras, (unless they’re placed in some silly location like a highway on/off ramp), but can we stop the “Won’t someone think of the children!” nonsense here?

    TA is for speed cameras everywhere, and that’s fine (hence the proposal to extend operating hours to include weekends), cloaking it as a school safety thing is dishonest (even if it probably is effective).

  • Vooch

    Eliminate the enforcement aspect and NYC can install as many ‘communication’ cameras as it wants.

    The cameras only need to ‘communicate’ with the speeding vehicles insurance company.

  • Jeff

    The new bill does indeed prohibit speed cameras within 100 feet of a highway on-ramp/off-ramp. Which is asinine if you ask me, as someone who has to cross a highway frontage road (Meeker Ave) every single day. If anything that’s exactly where we do need speed cameras, since apparently motorists seem to have trouble understanding that they are no longer on a highway once they are no longer on a highway.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Looking it up on google maps, in your case that is indeed a place where a camera could be fine.

    I’m talking more of situations like the infamous Ocean Parkway/Belt camera:
    http://bklyner.com/unfair-shore-parkway-speed-camera-trap-to-be-moved-closer-to-ocean-parkway-sheepshead-bay/

    It was eventually moved to a better spot, but for quite some time it was at the foot of the off ramp on a frontage road with no sidewalk on the other side, as in, that area would never be crossed by pedestrians under any circumstance.

  • Morris Zapp

    Number one, it’s not dishonest if it makes kids safer, which it does.

    Second, your beef is with Albany, not with people who are volunteering their time and energy to convince dimwit politicians to do the right thing.

    Take a trip to Albany with Families for Safe Streets and get back to us. I’m sure a mother who lost her child to a speeding driver would love to hear how tired you are of her nonsense.

  • reasonableexplanation

    1. If the goal is kids, then why focus on cameras by schools on weekends? As far as I’m aware kids don’t tend to congregate near schools on days when school is not in session. (That’s what I mean by dishonest). You’d have a more consistent argument if you were trying to put cameras near parks and playgrounds on weekends.

    2. I have no beef with Albany not with activitsts.

    3.

    I’m sure a mother who lost her child to a speeding driver…

    This is what I mean. there are more sound arguments for speed cameras than an appeal to emotion, which can be used to get almost any law passed, good or bad, if you rely on it.