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Mark Treyger and Families for Safe Streets Bring the Fight for Speed Cameras to Marty Golden’s Turf

Council Member Mark Treyger addressing the crowd. Photo: John McCarten/City Council

Peter Mastrapasqua, 87, sees drivers speed every day near his home on 65th Street in Bensonhurst. It's scary, and he doesn't understand why his state senator, Marty Golden, is holding up a speed camera bill in Albany.

"I know Marty Golden -- he's gotta do a better job as far as the cameras are concerned," he said. "I see the speeding from 17th Avenue to 19th Avenue. I mean, doing 60 and 70 and 80 miles per hour. I call the precinct, but by the time they come, the car's gone."

Mastrapasqua was one of the seniors that Council Member Mark Treyger and Families for Safe Streets came to speak to at the Moose Lodge Senior Center in Bensonhurst today, urging them to pressure Golden on the speed cam bill. Unless the State Senate reconvenes and passes an extension of the city's program, all speed cameras in New York will be turned off on July 25.

Seniors are dramatically more at risk of being killed by drivers in New York City than the general population. People over 65 account for 50 percent of pedestrian fatalities, according to DOT, while comprising 14 percent of city residents.

A poll commissioned by Transportation Alternatives two years ago found that 89 percent of New York City seniors support the speed camera program, which has reduced speeding by 63 percent at locations where cameras have been implemented.

But the camera program is limited by state law to just 140 school zone locations. Eighty-five percent of traffic deaths and severe injuries occur at locations and times when camera enforcement is not allowed.

"This is an issue that is very urgent and serious here in southern Brooklyn," Treyger told the lunch crowd. "The data is showing that where there are speed cameras by the schools, there's a reduction in speeding, there's a reduction in people getting injured."

"We need more. We need safety cameras," said Families for Safe Streets member Hindy Schachter. "They catch lawbreakers. They make the streets safer for all of us."

Golden, who helped secure funding to launch the senior center in 2005, is technically a co-sponsor of the Every School Speed Camera Act, which would raise the number of school zones with cameras to 290. But instead of pushing to pass the bill, last week Golden teamed up with two speed camera opponents -- Andrew Lanza and Simcha Felder -- to argue for a measure that would end the speed camera program in six months and fund stop signs and traffic signals instead.

Treyger called out Golden for making such a cynical maneuver.

"How many of your have seen, with your own two eyes, cars routinely going through stop signs? How many times have you seen someone going faster to beat the light?" he said to a show of hands. "What we're calling for today is for our politicians to do something that we expect them to do -- to lead and to act, specifically Marty Golden -- to put politics aside and put the safety of our seniors and our kids first."

Treyger's district includes areas of Bensonhurst and Gravesend that overlap with Golden's. One big difference between the two pols: The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association -- the police union that opposes speed cameras -- has contributed $19,200 to Golden's campaign since the beginning of 2015, compared to $750 for Treyger in the same period.

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