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Jeff Klein

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

Groups like TransAlt and (pictured here) Families for Safe Streets go to Albany to lobby electeds. 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.

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