Momentum Is Building for More NYC Speed Cameras, and You Can Help

With Marty Golden's support, the speed camera bill has cleared a major hurdle. Now Governor Cuomo and other Albany reps need to hear from New Yorkers who want to see the program expanded.

Members of Families for Safe Streets and allies rallying in Albany on Wednesday. Photo: Transportation Alternatives
Members of Families for Safe Streets and allies rallying in Albany on Wednesday. Photo: Transportation Alternatives

Families for Safe Streets and dozens of children went to Albany Wednesday to talk to legislators about the Every School Speed Camera Act, which would renew and expand the city’s life-saving automated speed enforcement program.

Since their introduction in 2014, speed cameras have reduced speeding by 63 percent at locations where they’ve been installed, according to DOT. The cameras have proven to deter habitual speeding: just 19 percent of drivers ticketed by speed cameras get caught again.

State law severely limits the program’s impact, however. The city is permitted to deploy cameras at only 140 locations and only during certain hours, and 85 percent of traffic fatalities and severe injuries occur outside of the times and locations that cameras are permitted.

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Deborah Glick and State Senate Jose Peralta would expand the number of camera locations to 290. The Assembly passed versions of the bill in 2017 and again during this year’s budget session, but it’s stalled in the senate, where it faces the opposition from Brooklyn rep Simcha Felder.

As he did last year, Felder is once again demanding armed police officers at city schools in exchange for his blessing, Politico reports.

But Felder’s support only matters as much as his sway with Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan allows. Flanagan alone decides whether to move the bill to the floor.

The bill has support in Flanagan’s Republican conference. Senator Marty Golden, the top-ranking state senator representing New York City, supports the bill. Upstate Republican Patty Ritchie also recently signed on as a co-sponsor.

“He’s very high up in the [Republican] conference,” Golden chief of staff John Quaglione told the Brooklyn Eagle. “His voice adds a tremendous amount of weight to this bill’s passage.”

With Golden’s support, the speed camera bill has cleared a major hurdle. You can help build momentum by adding your name to this TransAlt petition, which will be passed along to your representatives in Albany. You can also call Governor Cuomo’s office — 518-474-8390 — and urge him to get behind S6046B.

“There is bi-partisan support for this common sense, life-saving legislation,” Transportation Alternatives Director of Advocacy Tom DeVito said. “The expansion of the school based speed safety camera program is about saving lives — that’s something everyone should be able to get behind.”

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Right now, Albany limits NYC to 140 speed enforcement cameras for all 6,000 miles of surface streets in the city. A broad spectrum of New York City voters approve of expanding the program. The question is whether Albany Democrats Andrew Cuomo, Jeff Klein, and Carl Heastie will take action to save lives.