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.”

  • KeNYC2030

    You can sit and stew about this or you can join other volunteers and Families for Safe Streets members who will be canvassing Golden’s Bay Ridge district for three hours on Saturday. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/224095831647437/

  • Joe R.

    While I applaud everyone involved here for their effects, the chances of a special session happening are about the same as having snow in July. The lawmakers are already comfortably ensconced in Cape Cod, Vermont, or wherever until probably at least Labor Day. They’re not interrupting their vacations for anything short of a meteor hitting a population center.

    In lieu of speed cameras, I’d rather the state legislators pass a law requiring employers to give their employees the same kind of schedule they have. We basically pay legislators good money to work well under 100 days per year. How about doing the same for your average working stiff?

  • Jason W

    Why doesn’t the city just close all streets in front of schools to through traffic? Let the minority who drive lobby the state for speed cameras so that the roads can be reopened to them?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “One of the main obstacles to passing the bill is State Senator Marty Golden, who has personally racked up $700 in speed camera fines.”

    Frankly, that’s unbelievable. One of the point of the cameras is the fines will tell people they are driving too fast. In theory, that will cause them to think about the potential consequences of their actions.

    I once saw a ranking of driving records by occupation. Politicians had among the best driving records on average, because they are concerned about their reputation.

    This man is a sociopath. It can’t just be fast driving.

  • vnm

    Sponsoring a bill you don’t intend to vote for is the height of cynicism.

  • Joseph Cutrufo

    St. Ignatius on E 84th has enjoyed this kind of street closure on its block for decades.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The NY State Legislature can trump that level of cynicism any day of the week.

    How about having the two houses of the state legislature pass the bill, but with one small difference — a word, a comma in a different place — so it isn’t valid?

    Or a provision favoring a powerful special interest that gets added to a larger bill like the budget with no sponsors — in both houses — and passes with everyone saying they were against it and didn’t know it was there?

    Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Golden is representative. Heck, if he hasn’t committed a felony, he might not be as bad as average.

  • Jason

    You’re right: he has in fact killed at least one person through his reckless driving.

    “Twelve years ago State Senator Marty Golden ran over a 74-year-old
    woman with his SUV on Brooklyn’s Third Avenue, a few miles down the same
    street where, on Monday night, Golden impersonated a police officer while brandishing his parking placard in an attempt to bully a cyclist out of a bike lane with his chauffeured Cadillac.

    “The woman died soon after the crash. NYPD blamed the victim.”

    https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2017/12/13/marty-golden-fatally-wounded-a-senior-with-his-suv-in-2005/

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