Less Than Three Weeks Until Drivers Can Speed in NYC School Zones With Total Impunity

Unless Marty Golden and Senate Republicans act, New York's 140 speed cameras will cease to function on July 25.

Jane Martin-Lavaud lost her daughter to a crash in Gravesend in 2015. She lives in Marty Golden's district and teaches music in NYC schools. Photo: David Meyer
Jane Martin-Lavaud lost her daughter to a crash in Gravesend in 2015. She lives in Marty Golden's district and teaches music in NYC schools. Photo: David Meyer

Summer school started in NYC today, with 200,000 kids heading to class. For now, they can walk to school with the protection of speed cameras in 140 locations across the city. But starting July 25, the city will have to turn those cameras off, and for the first time in five years there will be almost nothing to deter drivers from speeding in school zones.

Or the Republican-controlled State Senate can reconvene and enact the same speed camera bill the Assembly has already passed, renewing and expanding an automated enforcement program that has saved lives.

One of the main obstacles to passing the bill is State Senator Marty Golden, who has personally racked up $700 in speed camera fines. Ostensibly a sponsor of the bill, Golden made no effort to get it to the floor for a vote, instead proposing a useless bill to fund stop signs at the end of the session.

Outside P.S. 215 Morris H. Weiss School this afternoon, in the Gravesend portion of Golden’s district, advocates rallied with City Council Member Mark Treyger, calling on Golden and the Senate to reconvene and pass the speed camera bill before it’s too late.

“You cannot put expiration dates on a proven plan to keep our families safe, and what they proposed after session ended is a joke, it’s not a plan, because nothing compares to the proven plan of speed cameras,” said Treyger. “We have 20 days until the cameras near schools, and that program, expires. Senator Golden, you and your conference have a job to do. You were elected to lead.”

Governor Cuomo has said his priority is to get the cameras renewed by the time kids go back to school in September. But summer school students and kids enrolled in sports clubs and other summer activities are already walking to their schools. They don’t have the luxury of waiting until it’s convenient for the Senate and Cuomo to act.

“As I see students leaving the building today on this first day of summer school, I’m worried about their safety as they cross the streets,” said NYC Department of Education First Deputy Chancellor Cheryl Watson-Harris. “Speed cameras are a vital tool to enhance the safety of students as they travel to and from school. Failing to act is a disservice to students and their families.”

Jane Martin-Lavaud lives in Gravesend and works for the Department of Education as a music teacher and bandleader. Five years ago, her daughter Leonora was killed by a speeding driving at Avenue U and East 5th Street, just blocks from P.S. 215.

“If speed cameras have been proven to work, I don’t know what we’re waiting for,” she said. “It’s not just about [Marty Golden’s] neighborhoods. He’s holding this up for the entire city.”

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