Get Ready for Next Week’s Speed Cam Rally With This Streetfilms Comic

camcomic

The campaign to get Albany to allow speed cameras outside every school in NYC is gaining steam.

Assembly Member Deborah Glick’s bill now has companion legislation in the Senate, introduced by Jose Peralta. The bill would allow any school to have automated speed enforcement without the current time of day restrictions, and would remove Albany’s 2018 sunset provision, making the city’s speed camera program permanent.

Last month Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark joined Manhattan’s Cy Vance, Brooklyn’s Ken Thompson, and Queens’s Richard Brown in endorsing speed camera legislation [PDF], making Staten Island’s Michael McMahon the sole NYC DA who hasn’t publicly called for speed cameras in every city school zone.

Twenty-five City Council members and Public Advocate Tish James introduced a resolution urging Albany to remove arbitrary restrictions on speed cameras in New York City. Council members also asked Governor Cuomo to support expanding the program.

Next Thursday, June 9, Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets will rally at City Hall to demand that state lawmakers to pass Glick’s bill. As of today the Senate version has no cosponsors.

The rally will start at 8:40 Thursday morning. You can RSVP here.

In the meantime, check out the latest Streetfilms Comic from Gary Eckerson, who lays bare the absurd arguments against slowing down drivers in school zones.

  • jcwconsult

    The predatory use of improper traffic laws and enforcement scams for revenue has correctly convinced many motorists that the root purposes of many of the laws and enforcement procedures were NOT for safety, but instead were for revenue.

    When the actual driving environments do not match the traffic laws in those areas, motorists correctly conclude the laws were set by either incompetents or by officials for revenue purposes.

    This country has a LONG way to go to regain respect for traffic laws and the officers who enforce them. The whole culture CAN AND SHOULD be changed.

    Getting revenue out of the picture would make the changes come a lot faster. The NMA’s founder many years ago proposed that traffic tickets contain NO financial penalties – no fines, no court costs, no state surcharges, no money. There would be ONLY points on the license. That would assure enforcement only for safety, because there would be no way for governments to enforce for profits. Officials would also have no financial incentives to insist on improper traffic engineering to enhance revenue. The suggestion would never be adopted, but it would improve the entire culture almost overnight.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

  • fdtutf

    Bullshit.

  • fdtutf

    The predatory use of improper traffic laws and enforcement scams for revenue has

    in

    correctly convinced many motorists that the root purposes of many of the laws and enforcement procedures were NOT for safety, but instead were for revenue.

    When the actual driving environments do not match the traffic laws in those areas, motorists

    in

    correctly conclude the laws were set by either incompetents or by officials for revenue purposes.

    Motorists have no business drawing these conclusions, period. Their duty as motorists is to obey the traffic laws, period.

    The NMA’s founder many years ago proposed that traffic tickets contain NO financial penalties – no fines, no court costs, no state surcharges, no money. There would be ONLY points on the license. That would assure enforcement only for safety, because there would be no way for governments to enforce for profits. Officials would also have no financial incentives to insist on improper traffic engineering to enhance revenue. The suggestion would never be adopted, but it would improve the entire culture almost overnight.

    I see the merit in this idea. (Who founded the NMA, by the way?) However, it introduces even more negative externalities into automobilism than already exist, because the costs of enforcement would have to be covered from general funds. Are you sure you want to do that?

  • jcwconsult

    Right angle corners require the same relatively slow turning speeds in the actual corner whether the turn is (A) from a slow city street with actual travel speeds of about 25 mph prior to the corner or (B) from a rural highway with actual travel speeds of 65 mph prior to the corner.

    If you don’t think this is true, please explain. Do YOU take such a turn off the rural highway notably faster than you do from a slow city street? How does the physics magically change to make a much faster cornering speed at the apex comfortable for the average driver?

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    His name is Jim Baxter and he retired from the NMA after guiding it for 30 years.

    Traffic researchers and most engineers recognize that a super majority of motorists (usually taken as 85%) more correctly define the proper traffic rules than any arbitrary measures – particularly those taken by officials without traffic safety engineering backgrounds. Until safety advocates realize that fact. progress will be painfully slow, or non-existent.

    The enforcement resources needed for safety when the engineering is done correctly and revenue is not the goal are a tiny fraction of today’s allotment – so the costs would be drastically lower.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

  • fdtutf

    Point taken.

    However, a significant part of the issue is that faster approach speeds give drivers much less time to see pedestrians in the crosswalk. It’s much more likely that they will either enter the turn without checking for pedestrians at all, or simply not see the pedestrians in time to avoid hitting them.

    In general, one reason for slower speeds in environments where there are many potential hazards is that motorists can process environmental information more successfully at lower speeds. This is a very solid reason that is essentially never evident to motorists, who tend to be overconfident in their abilities.

  • fdtutf

    The enforcement resources needed for safety when the engineering is done correctly and revenue is not the goal are a tiny fraction of today’s allotment – so the costs would be drastically lower.

    Part of the problem, though, is that motorists fight any such re-engineering tooth and nail because they think they have a right to drive as fast as they want.

    And part of the reason they believe that is that they’ve been coddled by traffic “safety” engineers for decades, with support from advocates like you.

  • qrt145

    Here’s an anecdote: I just went on a road trip to Montreal, and was surprised that despite very low posted speed limits, people mostly drove at speeds close to the speed limit, even on roads with no intuitive reason to go slow. In other words, no traffic calming measures or anything like that.

    The most extreme example of this was on the way to the beach, where I found myself literally driving on a race track. (the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve). The speed limit was 30 km/h (less than 20 mph), and while my car was hardly the stuff of Formula One and I’m no race driver, I would have felt comfortable driving at twice the speed limit, and yet everyone was driving at 30 km/h.

    Is it possible, perhaps, that in places where people give a damn about the speed limit, it is actually possible for people to keep an eye on the speedometer and control their speed? Or do the Quebecois have superhuman powers of speed control?

  • jcwconsult

    Your point is equally well taken. Slower actual travel speeds before the turn DO give motorists more time take in the multitude of observations from the roadway environment to perceive all the possible hazards.

    My point, which I hope has been clear, is that changing the engineering of the roadways so that most drivers feel safe and comfortable only at speeds up to the target speed of XX mph is the only true way to accomplish those actual speeds – at which point speed enforcement needs drop drastically because most drivers comply voluntarily.

    Enforcement, at any level that cities will actually deploy and afford will not reduce the travel speeds enough to make any difference when a high percentage of motorists feel safe and comfortable at speeds of XX plus 8 or 10 or 12 or 15 mph.

    People may not like that reality and may rail against it on cultural and other grounds. But simply feeling or wishing that most drivers would change behavior is a total waste of time and effort that merely delays working for actual changes in ways that work.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

  • fdtutf

    Addressed here.

  • jcwconsult

    I don’t know the city or the Province, so I don’t have the background to comment.

    Anybody else watching who has experience in Quebec?

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    Many engineers also fight efforts to re-engineer major collectors and arterials, because part of their job is to move large numbers of vehicles efficiently to support commerce. And, yes, NYC is different from most other major cities, but the sheer volume of vehicles that come into the city has to be dealt with efficiently.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

  • fdtutf

    So, having told us that re-engineering is the way to reduce speeds, you’re now telling us that re-engineering is a bad idea.

    In other words, pedestrians will just have to keep on dying for no good reason and that’s just too damn bad.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You’re disgusting.

  • new yorker

    Strict enforcement = compliance.

  • jcwconsult

    You may choose to reject this fact, but moving large numbers of vehicles efficiently into, out of and through urban environments to support commerce IS one of the key jobs of traffic engineers. The get paid to do that as one of their key duties.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    It is a common claim by officials, but it is false.

    No city will spend enough money on the enforcement resources for enough compliance on a 24/7 basis to actually work to reduce the speeds of most vehicles.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

  • fdtutf

    Traffic engineers who know what they’re doing, and know it isn’t 1955 anymore, focus on moving large numbers of people into, through, and out of urban environments. Automobiles are seldom the best way to do this.

  • jcwconsult

    I just did over 1,700 miles of driving in Scandinavia, all north of the Arctic Circle. We saw MANY areas with speed cameras – each one preceded by a clear sign about 100 – 200 yards ahead warning you were approaching a camera. Only drivers who were sound asleep would (deservedly) get tickets.

    The philosophy was obviously to NOT give any tickets, but to actually slow the speeds of all vehicles to the desired levels. This is absolutely opposite the philosophy of the for-profit business partnerships of speed cameras in the USA where the object is to give at least enough tickets for the expensive camera systems to turn a profit for the business partners – the camera companies, the cities, and sometimes the states that split the ticket revenues.

    Where we saw cameras in Sweden and Norway, there would be little or no camera revenue – because the real object was slower speeds, not money.

    The way speed cameras (and red light cameras) are used in the USA they are government run money grab rackets that should be illegal in every state, as they are in some already. It IS possible to have speed and red light cameras based on safety, not revenue, but that is NOT how they are used in the USA.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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