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.”

  • jcwconsult

    I don’t know the official German rule. Another poster said it is 10%, but I do not know that myself. England uses +10% +2 mph for the trigger point on cameras. This makes 35 ticketable in a 30 zone or 79 in a 70 zone motorway. BUT England sets most limits around the mean traffic speed, so the cameras in England are very predatory money grab devices.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • fdtutf

    Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled:
    1940 10.9 Today 1.1 QED

    Not responsive to my point.

    You might want to ask the tourist businesses if they want to give up whatever portion of their revenue that comes from people who arrive by car. I can assure you the answer from almost all of them will be no.

    Also not responsive to my point.

    I responded to your points, and you answered by shifting ground. This is your general tendency.

  • fdtutf

    Unless there’s coercion, it’s not robbery, and all motorists could avoid the tickets by the simple expedient of OBEYING THE TRAFFIC LAWS. But that option seems not to even be on your radar.

  • jcwconsult

    Not when the traffic safety parameters are deliberately done improperly and less-safely to increase ticket rates to make enforcement for profits the main priority.

    Enforcement for profits is 100% wrong, 100% of the time. Ticketing safe drivers for profits is 100% wrong, 100% of the time.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    For all users, because artificially low posted limits increase crash risks slightly.

    Whatever % of revenue comes from people driving cars is something that most businesses would not voluntarily give up.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • fdtutf

    For all users,

    Let’s review. This is your original comment:

    Today in midwestern states, similar rural highways have 85th speeds of 65 to 70 — essentially no change given the difference in safety driving a modern car versus one from the late 1930s.

    My question was:

    Safety for which road users?

    And your response is “for all users”? How, exactly, are modern cars safer for pedestrians and cyclists than cars from the late 1930s?

  • fdtutf

    Ticketing safe drivers for profits is 100% wrong, 100% of the time.

    The incorrect idea that drivers can violate the traffic laws and still be “safe drivers” is the heart of the problem.

  • fdtutf

    Agreed that STOP signs are widely mis-used in the USA in places that should have YIELD signs or modern roundabouts. A Michigan policeman won a Governors Traffic Safety Advisory Commission award for removing many stop signs and traffic lights in his city that did not meet their engineering warrants. I kept track on 3 consecutive trips in the UK and saw a stop sign only once in every 800 miles.

    Why doesn’t the UK use STOP signs more extensively? Could it be that they engineer their roads differently, so that STOP signs are rarely needed?

    What you’re pushing for is the removal of obstacles (and even perceived obstacles) to motorists in the U.S. being able to do whatever the hell they want (since our roads are not engineered to reduce speeds, nor would you support that kind of engineering), and the hell with everybody else. I can’t believe you don’t understand why many people find this profoundly offensive.

  • BrandonWC

    I hate for data to undercut your antidotes. But the ideas that consumers arriving by car are the key driver of local business revenue in cities like New York and that replacing on-street parking with bike lanes or bus lanes hurts such business has been disproved over and over again.

    But here’s the thing about the “studies on possible economic impacts”
    requested by retailers on Polk Street, or really wherever bike-lane plans emerge—they’ve been done. And done. And done again. And they all reach a similar conclusion: replacing on-street parking with a bike lane has little to no impact on local business, and in some cases might even increase business. While cyclists tend to spend less per
    shopping trip than drivers, they also tend to make more trips,pumping more total money into the local economy over time.

    A neighborhood survey of 420 people on First and Second avenues in Manhattan’s East Village, home to protected bike lanes, found that aggregate spending by non-drivers accounted for 95 percent of all retail spending in the area. That’s not too surprising in New York, given the great transit infrastructure, but the figures remain impressive. Cyclists spent about $163 per week on average, compared to $143 among drivers.

    The Complete Business Case for Converting Street Parking Into Bike Lanes

  • jcwconsult

    DRAMATICALLY improved brakes, tires, steering, evasive handling abilities, ABS brakes, dynamic skid controls.
    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    England, Germany and many other European countries use a Yield or Give Way protocol as the UK calls it. Drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles at many intersections – but do not have to uselessly stop when there are no conflicts. Stop signs are rare, and tend to be used only when the sight lines do not permit a proper look to confirm the way is clear as you approach. Using yield protocol reduces fuel consumption, air pollution, noise pollution, wear on vehicles, saves time and increases intersection flow capacity without building more lanes. Modern roundabouts are automatically yield protocol and fit many (but not all) situations. Note that roundabouts cost more to install than traffic lights, but are significantly cheaper in the long run without needing electricity or traffic light maintenance. They tend to reduce crash rates by at least half and fatal crashes by 80% or more because the high speed t-bone crash is virtually impossible to happen.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    I don’t doubt that 95% of the retail spending (at least for products that can reasonably be carried by a cyclist or pedestrian) comes from non-drivers. But ask the merchants if they will voluntarily give up 5% of their revenue and the answers are likely no.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    Drivers at or close to the actual 85th percentile speeds of traffic have a significantly lower crash rate than drivers far above or far below that speed. So, when the posted limit is set 10 or more mph below the 85th percentile speed, it is significantly safer to drive “10 over” than to comply.

    We have one limit in Ann Arbor that represents the 1st percentile speed, with 99% of the cars above it. That includes police cars, school buses with kids, garbage trucks, and all the normal commuting and shopping traffic. Only an idiot complies with the 25 posted limit when the 85th percentile speed is 40.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • Maggie

    That sounds hellish. How do Michiganders bike on a street like that?

  • jcwconsult

    I have spent a lot of time studying that street for at least 15 years. The street used to belong to the county and was correctly posted at 40 mph. When the city annexed it, they incorrectly posted it at 25, a speed that virtually no one obeys. It has no sidewalks and the pavement is not particularly wide. It is also pretty curvy in places and has one hill that is hard to see over for any distance. Bikes and pedestrians are very common on weekends – and when they are present the actual speeds of traffic slow quite drastically. People are polite, respectful and careful when required. The street has a crash rate substantially lower than other similar streets – there is no safety issue. There is only a predatory speed trap issue when the city periodically decides to go there to make money from safe drivers.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • Alicia

    Yes, defending drivers who speed and put other people in danger is indeed an evil practice.

  • Alicia

    Those things are only good when drivers consistently use them. Despite new safety features (and I do appreciate some new tech like the rear view cameras that are getting installed in recent models) traffic fatalities are not going down proportionately. In 2015, we actually saw an increase (38k, vs. about 33k in 2014 and 2013.)

  • jcwconsult

    Not adding 0.7 to 1.0 seconds to the yellow intervals at camera intersections is proof that money is the purpose for having the cameras, not safety. Note that about 60% of violations happen in the first 0.5 seconds of red and about 80% in the first 1.0 seconds. The crash risks for red light violations under 2.0 seconds is essentially zero because those drivers clear the intersections during the time for the all-red phase and the second it takes for the cross traffic to react to a green and start moving. Auburn University released a research report showing the dollar value of entries up to 3.8 seconds into the red is $0.00, meaning those violations do not cause crashes. The vast majority of the dangerous high speed t-bone crashes the cameras (usually falsely) claim to stop are violations of 5 to 9+ seconds into the red. Almost all red light camera tickets go to drivers who endangered no one.

    Red light cameras are a for-profit money grab racket that should be illegal in every state, as they are in some already.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    2015 will see a spike in almost all categories of the stats. Gas was cheap, the economy was improving, more people were working, more set-time commuting trips were required, more total miles were driven – now 3.15 trillion which is a record high, with cheap gas more trips with higher risks happen – such as going to the bar or restaurant 20 miles away at night, more younger drivers can afford pleasure drives, more motorcycle deaths happened with a good weather year, etc.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • fdtutf

    Drivers at or close to the actual 85th percentile speeds of traffic have a significantly lower crash rate than drivers far above or far below that speed.

    I’m pretty sure that statistic refers to motorists crashing into each other, not into pedestrians. At higher speeds, regardless of percentiles, motorists have less opportunity to detect conflicts with pedestrians (and cyclists, for that matter) and to avoid crashes, and at higher speeds, regardless of percentiles, the (greater number of) crashes that do occur are deadlier to pedestrians and cyclists.

    But as the National Motorists Association’s absurdly biased mouthpiece, you don’t care.

  • fdtutf

    Congratulations, that was COMPLETELY non-responsive to my comment.

  • fdtutf

    All of which have led motorists to increase their risky behavior, so they haven’t really contributed to increased safety.

  • fdtutf

    Slower speeds aren’t “less safe.” Where did you ever get this idiotic idea, anyway?

  • jcwconsult

    The command officers in the safety department of the Michigan State Police who support the same principles I do are responsible for the safety of all road users.

    James C. Walker, LIfe Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    Stop signs are used in many countries in Europe ONLY where the sight lines are too short to allow Yield protocols. The road engineering is NOT different, only the correct or incorrect use of stop or yield protocols are different. The USA has a fetish for the improper use of stop signs where most of the time the use of yield signs would be better.
    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    Gee, that use of “increased risky behavior” must be the root reason the fatality rate has dropped by about 90% over that period of time. Driving, walking and cycling in today’s environment is dramatically safer than in previous decades. The stats make that clear to anyone open to seeing the facts.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    From the legitimate unbiased research done by traffic safety engineers. For example: If 85% of the cars are ACTUALLY at or below 45 mph, the safest limit to post is 45, and the drivers at or near 45 mph have MUCH lower crash risks than drivers far above or below 45. In this area, drivers at 30 or 25 have exponentially higher crash risks than those from about 40 to the low 50s.

    That is the science which has been known for over 70 years. See the last article here from the safety department of the Michigan State Police about Establishing Safe and Realistic Speed Limits – a presentation given to the House and Senate Transportation Committees in the legislature.
    https://www.motorists.org/issues/speed-limits/articles/

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • fdtutf

    There’s nothing that says that police can’t be biased in favor of motorists. Just ask any New Yorker who’s paying attention.

  • fdtutf

    Is walking, specifically, dramatically safer?

  • fdtutf

    From the legitimate unbiased research done by traffic safety engineers

    on rural roads, so the results don’t apply to urban environments

    . For example: If 85% of the cars are ACTUALLY at or below 45 mph, the safest limit to post is 45, and the drivers at or near 45 mph have MUCH lower crash risks than drivers far above or below 45. In this area, drivers at 30 or 25 have exponentially higher crash risks than those from about 40 to the low 50s.

    That is the science which has been known for over 70 years.

    I looked at the article you indicated, which is a slide presentation from the MSP about setting and enforcing speed limits. The presentation appears to assume that pedestrians don’t exist, as none of the illustrations show any pedestrians and all of the road environments shown are utterly pedestrian-hostile.

    So none of what you’re saying applies to city streets with significant pedestrian traffic. Please read the title of this article (the one we’re commenting on) again. We’ll wait.

  • jcwconsult

    The 1940s data is not broken down as well as today’s but the overall drop in the fatality rate of about 90% should make it clear the overall gains are dramatic over that long period of time. Ped fatalities for 2013 were 4,735 or about 14% of the total, and have varied from about 11% to 14% in recent years. And roughly half of all ped fatalities, per NHTSA, involve some risky behavior on the part of the ped. One of the highest risk groups is elderly men at night.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    The Martin Parker study from 1992, the most definitive study ever done on the effects of raising and lowering speed limits, was on BOTH rural and urban roads. The lowest crash rate was produced in most cases when the limits were set at or very close to the 85th percentile speeds.
    http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/sl-irrel.html

    The Michigan State Police department that produced that presentation to the House and Senate Transportation Committees (and uses it in many other venues) is responsible for traffic safety for all users, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Mr. Parker was in the audience of the Michigan Chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) when I gave a joint presentation to that group with the state police regarding a change in Michigan’s speed limit laws and its effects. He complimented us on the presentation.

    The 3 Lane Residential Trunk Line in that presentation is in East Lansing, has sidewalks on both sides, has periodic traffic lights with proper crosswalks, and is about a mile from the Michigan State University Campus, so there is quite a bit of pedestrian traffic from local residents, college students and kids in general who live in the area. The 85th percentile speed has been 36 mph for decades, whether posted at 25 and a very active speed trap or at 35 with no reason to be enforced since the compliance rate is so high. The 5 lane county road is not pedestrian friendly and there is little pedestrian traffic there.
    It is simply false that the basic principles of speed limit setting for safety do not apply to city streets – including those with significant pedestrian traffic.

    There ARE cases where lower actual speeds can and should be safer in some areas. They can be easily, though expensively, achieved by changing the engineering of the streets. Using artificially low posted limits and ticket cameras is about $$$$, not safety. NYC plans some very significant profits from their ticket cameras – without making the engineering changes that would actually work for your goals.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • Vooch

    30,000 killed ;
    2,500,000 maimed ;
    every. single. year. ;
    in traffic violence ;

    please put your 60 year old throughly discredited studies away they are evil.

  • jcwconsult

    The fatality rate of about 1.1 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is the lowest in history. Driving is incredibly safe today. NHTSA data says the pedestrian fatality rate is about 1 for each 70 million miles walked. The chances to be a pedestrian fatality are really small.

    None of the studies I refer to have been discredited, they are the foundation of traffic safety engineering.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • Alicia

    More talking points instead of realism.

  • Alicia

    Mistimed? Where are the lights mistimed for people approaching at posted speeds?

    adding one second to the yellows

    In other words, programming the lights in favor of people who are driving at unsafe speeds.

  • Alicia

    That is a really fatuous talking point you keep repeating, and I wonder how you convinced yourself it’s an intelligent reply. Every business professor I’ve ever had would shake their heads at the false premises of your statement. No competent businessman would ever answer a leading question like that with a simple yes/no answer without a CBA to help him understand likely loss or gain in income based on which demographics patronize his business.

  • Alicia

    On what evidence do you say it’s unlikely? Or is this just another knee-jerk reaction?

  • Alicia

    The Martin Parker study from 1992, the most definitive study ever done on the effects of raising and lowering speed limits, was on BOTH rural and urban roads.

    Nothing in the study you linked in this comment addresses pedestrian and bicyclist safety, any more than your other studies do.

    The Michigan State Police department that produced that presentation to the House and Senate Transportation Committees (and uses it in many other venues) is responsible for traffic safety for all users, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians

    But their recommendations only take into account the effects of policies on drivers. If they are responsible for cyclists and pedestrians, et cetera, as well, they are neglecting that responsibility.

    The 85th percentile speed has been 36 mph for decades, whether posted at 25 and a very active speed trap or at 35 with no reason to be enforced since the compliance rate is so high.

    If the 85th percentile rate is 36mph, then the compliance rate with the law is low, not high.

  • jcwconsult

    You can falsely call it talking points if you wish, but that action drops violations by 60% to 90%. If the goal is fewer violations (which is NOT the goal in NYC), then refusing to add the yellow time proves the real goal is $$$$$$$$$.
    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    Time the lights for reality, not fantasy wishes – IF safety is the real goal, which it is NOT in NYC. Goal is $$$.
    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    It is false that their recommendations are set only for drivers. The smoother and safer traffic flow with correct limits is safer for all road users.
    The road is posted at 35 and the compliance rate is VERY high. The safety analysis of the road which I have shows it has a low crash rate, whether posted at 25 as it was illegally set for awhile, or at the correct 35.
    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • Alicia

    It is false that their recommendations are set only for drivers.

    Oh, really. Can you tell me the part of the report that explicitly addresses the effect on safe pedestrian and bicycle access at various speeds?

  • Alicia

    In other words, the lights are not incorrectly set for the speed limit.

  • Vooch

    Alicia,

    This troll believes:

    1) 30,000 killed & 2,500,000 maimed annually represents a fantastically great safety record

    2) VMT drives ecomonic activity. More VMT equals economic growth. In his world driving 5 miles to buy milk is better than walking across the street.

    3) the priority of streets users is uppermost for cars any other user is a afterthought.

    4) lavish subsidies for mass motoring are desireable

    5) Drivers older than 80 should be regulated no different than if they were 35

    It’s so nutty and peverse, we should honestly stop engaging him.

  • jcwconsult

    As above: The smoother and safer traffic flow with correct limits is safer for all users. I won’t reply to that question again, since you clearly don’t understand the science of traffic safety engineering.
    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • Alicia

    So they didn’t study the effects on pedestrian access. That’s what I thought.

  • jcwconsult

    False, but believe whatever you want.
    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  • fdtutf

    The 1940s data is not broken down as well as today’s but the overall drop in the fatality rate of about 90% should make it clear the overall gains are dramatic over that long period of time.

    I asked specifically about walking for a reason. You can’t answer the question, which is fine (if the data aren’t available, they’re not available), but my question remains unanswered.

  • fdtutf

    If I accept this as true, then the question becomes: How would you propose to reduce automobile speeds to levels that are safe for pedestrians, in light of the following study?

    https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2011PedestrianRiskVsSpeed.pdf

    I also invite you to peruse and respond to this article:

    http://www.citylab.com/commute/2012/04/invention-jaywalking/1837/

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