NYC Students Tell Albany: Speed Cameras at #EverySchool Will Save Lives

“Not one more.” Street safety advocates and students join Assembly Member Deborah Glick in calling on Albany to allow speed cameras at every school in NYC. Photo: Brad Aaron
“Not one more.” Street safety advocates and students join Assembly Member Deborah Glick in calling on Albany to allow speed cameras at every school in NYC. Photo: Brad Aaron

Students from MS 51 in Brooklyn joined family and friends of people killed by New York City drivers in Albany today to ask state lawmakers to allow the city to install speed cameras outside every school.

Organized by Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets, about 140 New Yorkers met with legislators to drum up support for Assembly Bill 9861. Introduced by Lower Manhattan rep Deborah Glick, the bill would let any school have automated speed enforcement without restrictions on hours of camera operation. Glick’s bill, which only pertains to NYC, would also remove a sunset provision, now set for 2018, making the city’s speed camera program permanent.

State law currently limits NYC to deploying just 140 speed cameras, which can be used in school zones during school hours only, though most fatal crashes occur at night. Tickets are not issued unless a driver is exceeding the speed limit by 11 mph or more, and the penalty is $50 with no license or insurance points.

Speeding is down by 60 percent at camera locations, according to DOT, but the narrow scope of the program leaves the vast majority of NYC’s 6,000 miles of streets without enforcement. Streets that kids cross every day to get to school have no cameras to deter speeding.

Advocates and lawmakers who have signed on to Glick’s bill want to expand enforcement for the million-plus children who at any given time attend schools that don’t have cameras. Extending camera coverage to all NYC schools would save 100 lives and prevent 2,700 crashes and 1,400 serious injuries annually, according to TA.

“It is time that we protect all of our kids, not just some of our kids,” said Glick, who joined parents, children, and other volunteers, many wearing bright yellow #EverySchool t-shirts, on the capitol’s “Million Dollar Staircase” this morning.

Glick said the existing speed camera program “has shown its efficacy,” and called arguments against expanding it “thin and inaccurate.”

Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side, said when constituents ask her why all city schools don’t have cameras, “I don’t have an answer for them. It’s ridiculous.”

Amy Cohen, whose 12-year-old son Sammy was killed by a speeding driver in Park Slope in 2013, said that a 5-year-old hit by a driver in the same location over a year later survived. By that time the city’s default speed limit had been lowered to 25 mph.

Forty students from MS 51, where Sammy went to school, made the trip to Albany today. MS 51 lost three students to reckless drivers in 14 months.

Cohen led the students and other advocates in a chant of “Not one more.”

Glick’s bill currently has 16 Assembly co-sponsors. There is not yet a companion bill in the State Senate.

Addressing the canard that speed cameras are a revenue scam, Glick noted that, as the city’s red light camera program has aged, it is generating less revenue because drivers are running fewer lights.

“We are modifying people’s behavior,” said Glick, “and that’s what we’re looking for.”

  • fdtutf

    Disqus needs a “love” button for this comment.

  • jcwconsult

    It is easy, though expensive, to degrade the roadway environments so that (for example) 85% of the drivers felt safe and comfortable at speeds up to 35 mph, now feel safe and comfortable only at speeds up to 25 mph.

    And doing this, the venue must be willing to accept significantly increased congestion, lower traffic flow to support the local economy, and perhaps diversion to smaller and less safe minor streets by drivers who get totally frustrated by the increased congestion.

    It is a two edged sword.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association.

  • jcwconsult

    There are 2 effective ways to reduce actual travel speeds.

    1) Change engineering so that (for example) 85% of the drivers who formerly felt safe and comfortable at speeds up to 35 mph now feel safe and comfortable only at speeds up to 25 mph. This is expensive and may have negative side effects of more congestion, lower vehicle throughput capacity, and diversion of more traffic off the main collectors that should carry the high traffic counts onto smaller side streets that are more dangerous with more traffic.

    2) Have something very close to 24/7 enforcement so that tickets are essentially certain. There are not enough officers to do this and if you use enough ticket cameras to actually reduce the speeds of most vehicles, then the expensive cameras will lose massive amounts of money and no city will use them.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • Maggie

    A camera that sends you a $50 ticket when you speed by over 10 mph past a city school is engineering. It’s the 24/7 enforcement you’re asking for.

  • LinuxGuy

    If a road is degraded, perhaps it may become less safe, as well.

  • LinuxGuy

    You are right. I know a guy in Staten Island. He said Vision Zero is a total disaster! Lots more jaywalking too. I also wonder how many tickets they give out to non-residents. You cannot turn right-on-red, but nobody know this. Maybe there is a tiny sign entering the city, but you will not see it. I never saw any. I did not see all the intersections posted, either.

  • Vooch

    1:113 odds of being Killed by traffic violence ? That’s close to death rate of US military in WWII Which was roughly 1:140

  • jcwconsult

    The cameras are too far apart and too random to have any significant effect on the average traffic speeds. The system is designed that way so the profits remain high. If the cameras ACTUALLY reduced the speeds of most cars, the expensive cameras would not collect enough $50 fines to even come close to paying their own costs.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    A high percentage of pedestrian fatalities are at night and a high percentage are not at intersections. See NHTSA publication 812270.pdf

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • LinuxGuy

    They walk out in front of you and are on the phone a lot. Distraction.

    I suppose that in NYC, since you mostly can’t own or carry a gun to protect yourself, why should we expect them to use common sense for driving laws? I liked Cuomo with the 7 round magazine trick a few years ago too. Ha! I bet he has security, though.

  • Vooch

    high MPG cars do not need to Fill up as often plus VMT Is dropping

    I was speaking to a Cabbie the other Day – he and his Father own a Prius together, says it only needs gas Every 3rd Shift instead of at end of Every shift.

  • Vooch

    Priceless video – engineers Like us can really appreciate.

    When are you going to whop JCW upside his head with your credentials ? LOL

  • Vooch

    There Goes spawn of R. Moses again prattling on about VMT being economic growth. He worships VMT Like some Cargo Cultist.

    imagine someone who clings to 1930s transportat

  • ahwr

    high MPG cars do not need to Fill up as often

    The difference isn’t as big as you think. Toyota Sienna gets 18mpg city, 25 highway, has a 20 gallon fuel tank. Range of 360-500 miles. Toyota Prius gets 54mpg city, 50 highway, has an 11.3 gallon fuel tank. Range of 565-610. The typical car owner in NYC doesn’t drive almost exclusively on city streets, so the typical driver might be getting 400-450 miles out of the Sienna, 575-590 out of the Prius. Space is limited in a car, as fuel efficiency increases less space will be devoted to fuel tanks.

    The difference in fuel economy is much larger if you drive mostly in stop and go traffic in Manhattan. Hybrids excel at that. The experience of the cabbie you chatted with who cut fuel station trips by 70% won’t be typical of high mileage vehicle owners in the city generally.

  • ahwr

    In New York City, 74% of pedestrian KSI crashes occurred at intersections. This stands in sharp contrast with the rest of the United States, where pedestrians are mainly killed at non-intersection locations (76% in 2008).

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/nyc_ped_safety_study_action_plan.pdf

    In New York City, 10% of pedestrian KSI crashes involved at least one fatality. Of the fatal pedestrian crashes, 62.2% occurred at intersections while 37.8% occurred mid-block and 30 fatal crashes had unknown locations. Of the severe injury pedestrian crashes, 74.8% occurred at intersections while 25.2% occurred mid-block and 231 severe injury crashes had unknown locations. Crashes without a location listed (261) accounted for 3.5% of the total.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/nyc_ped_safety_study_action_plan_technical_supplement.pdf

  • fdtutf

    Lower speeds don’t necessarily mean lower throughput — things aren’t that simple. And you say you understand traffic engineering.

    Your biased use of “degrade” is also noted.

  • fdtutf

    Another non-response. Thanks for…being consistent, I guess?

  • jcwconsult

    Agreed, speeds are not the only factor in throughput. That said, if traffic is fairly free flowing, then when the average speed of vehicles is X-5 mph the throughput will be lower than if the average is X.

    There are lots of other words – try “reduce the utility of the road as a commuting collector”. Main collectors and arterials are designed to move large quantities of vehicles and and goods into and out of cities to support the economy. Making them less efficient is not good for the economy.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    The two ways ARE the ways to slow speeds, take your pick. Both are impractical in most cases.

    AAA study – pure physics. Slow the speeds of cars and trucks to 0 mph and the fatality rate will be 0.

    Society was drastically different 100 years ago, and very few people would want to return to it.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • Joe R.

    You should note that in NYC the main vehicles essential to the local economy are delivery vehicles, buses, fleet vehicles, and so forth. These vehicles typically comprise <10% to at most 50% of traffic. Even if we play devil's advocate and assume lower speeds reduce throughput, it's not a given that commerce will be affected in NYC. Private automobiles function mainly for the convenience of their users. Often trips made by private auto can easily be done by bike, mass transit, walking, etc. If they can't, there exists plenty of for hire car services. In short, your worries about capacity are mostly unfounded. In places where streets have been pedestrianized, business has usually increased and rents/property values went up. For every car user who might no longer patronize these stores, the more pleasant environment will encourage more people to walk or bike by them. Some will become customers.

    Note also that even if this wasn't the case, one less car means NYC spends less on motor vehicle externalities. Whatever taxes are lost might be offset and then some by the city needing to spend less. Remember in large cities especially there are HUGE external costs associated with using private autos in terms of pollution, delays to other users, and road wear.

    The model that reducing VMT hurts commerce mostly holds outside of large cities, and especially outside of NYC. The NYC economy would be hurt far worse if the subway stopped running than if we banned private automobiles entirely.

  • jcwconsult

    Most of the people in vehicles in NYC did not drive those streets to gawk at the buildings along the streets. They came to do things that boost the economy.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • Vooch

    56% of trips in NYC are less than 3 miles –

  • fdtutf

    That said, if traffic is fairly free flowing,

    which it rarely is in New York City.

    Main collectors and arterials are designed to move large quantities of vehicles and and goods into and out of cities to support the economy. Making them less efficient is not good for the economy.

    Thank you for clarifying that you belong to the thoroughly discredited “only vehicles matter” school of “traffic” “engineering.”

  • fdtutf

    The two ways ARE the ways to slow speeds, take your pick. Both are impractical in most cases.

    “Impractical” means “would prevent me from driving as fast as I want to,” right?

    AAA study – pure physics. Slow the speeds of cars and trucks to 0 mph and the fatality rate will be 0.

    Of course it’s pure physics. You’ve yet to explain what you would do to protect pedestrians from automobiles. Instead, you’re setting up ridiculous strawmen.

    Society was drastically different 100 years ago, and very few people would want to return to it.

    That may or may not be true as a general proposition (my sense is that it probably is), but it’s a completely different question from the one of whether we went in the right direction when we decided to accept traffic fatalities as normal and give automobiles and their operators an untrammeled right to travel the streets.

  • fdtutf

    …which completely ignores the question of the externalities that automobile traffic creates.

  • Alicia

    And here you’re repeating another variation on the same fatuous talking point again. Yes, they spend money, but that doesn’t mean they have a net positive economic impact on the city.

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