Speed Cameras Save Lives

The head of the Department of Education calls on the State Senate to reconvene and pass the bill to extend and expand NYC's school zone speed camera program.

Kids and parents should be able to walk to school without speeding drivers jeopardizing their lives. Photo: Clarence Eckerson
Kids and parents should be able to walk to school without speeding drivers jeopardizing their lives. Photo: Clarence Eckerson

Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza is the head of the Department of Education and NYC Public Schools.

School’s out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean our work stops. In fact, some of our most important work happens during the summer months — professional development for staff and enrichment programs for students ensure that, come September, we’re ready to hit the ground running on the first day of school.

Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

We need the State Senate to do their part over the summer to ensure students can safely travel to and from school when the next school year starts. With the failure to reauthorize and expand the City’s School Speed Zone Camera program, it’s lights out on our cameras on July 25 unless they return to Albany to take action.

We’re lucky to work with the best safety team in the world, the NYPD, and I feel confident they are keeping our kids safe inside our buildings. But what about when they’re crossing the street to get to school or walking down the street when they leave school? While NYPD has increased their enforcement against dangerous drivers, the problem is too big for them to address alone.

There is a common sense solution to this problem — speed cameras. They are a proven tool that make drivers more responsible and keep our school zones safer. It’s that simple — speed cameras keep our students safe. And their ability to safely travel to and from school is being threatened.

Mayor de Blasio has led the way on pedestrian safety. Governor Cuomo supports the extension and expansion of the speed cameras. And our Assembly has passed a bill in support of it. Now it is up to the Senate to get us to the finish line. Without passing a bill, the cameras already in place at 140 schools will be turned off soon, and the plan to place cameras on the most dangerous streets and in an additional 150 school speed zones will be halted.

Our families shouldn’t have to spend the summer worrying about a safety hazard that may be waiting for their children in the fall. They should be spending quality time together, having fun exploring the city and continuing to learn.

This is a straightforward issue with a clear solution. It’s a matter of life and death. 

  • DoctorMemory

    All this is true, but have you considered the fact that Marty Golden is an ex-cop and really likes driving fast? You have to consider all the stakeholders here.

  • ddartley

    Will you guys *please* add “school zone” before “speed cameras” when you run headlines on this particular camera program and what’s going on with Golden et al.? It more precisely refers to the actual story, and also appeals better to the public. Thanks.

  • vnm

    This is very well said.

  • ddartley

    (I do realize that the byline is Carranza’s, but if you can…)

  • Jason

    This obviously isn’t what’s going on with Golden, but in general I think there’s an issue with people conflating speed cameras and red light cameras in their heads, which isn’t helping anything given that red light cameras DO deserve their reputation for being abusively set up to generate ticket revenue. So emphasizing the distinction between the two, even if it feels like you’re stating the obvious, might be a worthwhile way to try to get through to people.

  • Andrew

    Do you actually know that it appeals better to the public, or is that just a guess? While speed cameras near schools are certainly better than no speed cameras, I certainly don’t want speed enforcement to only take place near schools, nor do I want motorists to get the impression that, while speeding near schools might be a bad thing, speeding everywhere else is just fine.

  • ddartley

    The thing is, I’m only talking about this very specific ongoing story about this particular program that these senators let die, and how we’re trying to get it resuscitated before it turns off.

    When I wrote the comment it WAS a guess (a confident one) about how the wording would affect how it plays to the public, but it turns out that the scientific polling that Transportation Alternatives commissioned backs me up, as this screenshot from the report shows. (So, Streetsblog, going forward, please include the phrase “school zone” before “speed cams” when writing headlines about this particular story!) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9cd71e4338187900f0aeece953cacea5ca060b907c6edec3a0d0defc2db3f9fd.jpg

    (P.S. of course I too want speeding down everywhere, and I would be fine with cameras outside of school zones. But I’ll take what we can get now, and also I strongly suspect that, given the deterrent effect that school zone cam tickets have shown on 80+% of drivers who get only one or two of them, they reduce, at least somewhat, speeding all over.)

  • 1soReal

    Looking at that survey response..what is up with Staten Island?

  • ddartley

    FREEDOM!!!!! (To kill.)

  • fdtutf

    Heck what about Queens where there are more people strongly opposed to speed cameras in school zones than outside them?

  • Andrew

    red light cameras DO deserve their reputation for being abusively set up to generate ticket revenue

    How do you figure?

  • Larry Littlefield

    NYC yellow lights are the shortest anywhere, and the red light cameras give you a ticket if you enter the intersection .01 second too late. I got one myself.

    But I haven’t gotten one since. I adjusted the way I drive, stopping for a yellow light unless that would mean jamming on the brakes.

    In contrast, I got a red light ticket on a bicycle, in the 6th Avenue bike lane, when the light was yellow. They look at the intersection from behind the lights and can’t see them, and they gave me a ticket because the pedestrian signal turned steady red. It does so when the light turns yellow. So I approached the intersection with a green light, looked away from the light for pedestrians, and got ticketed because the light was turning from green to yellow as I entered the intersection.

    “If you don’t like it go to court” he said. Use a vacation day, have the cop not show up, get told to show up on a different day, and keep repeating it until I pay. So I paid.

    That one is going to be a lot harder to adjust to. It’s enough to make me think I need a GoPro the way drivers in Putin’s Russia need a Dashcam.

  • Andrew

    NYC yellow lights are typically 3 seconds long, which is plenty long enough. When I drove regularly, I was routinely passed, while slowing for the yellow light, but impatient motorists who invariably ended up running the red.

    The only reason that so many motorists run red lights is that they know that enforcement is virtually nil. There is no excuse for motorists to run red lights, and there’s nothing wrong with penalizing those who choose to do so.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I depends on the street. They are longer on arterials, and very short on side streets — a second or second and a half I’d say.

    Based, presumably, on the speed one should be driving even if the speed limit is the same in both cases.

  • Andrew

    I depends on the street. They are longer on arterials, and very short on side streets — a second or second and a half I’d say.

    The minimum yellow phase duration in New York City is three seconds: http://www.utrc2.org/sites/default/files/Final-Report-Develop-Comprehensive-Guide-Traffic-Signal-Timing.pdf#page=93

    If you are aware of a signal whose yellow phase is only “a second or second and a half,” please report it to DOT ASAP, because it’s seriously malfunctioning.

    But I suspect that you’re going by gut feeling rather than actually timing the phase.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Cuomo Signs Speed Cam Bill Into Law

|
Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the speed camera bill into law, enabling New York City to use automated enforcement technology to deter speeding in school zones. The law lets the city operate 20 mobile speed enforcement cameras in school speed zones when school or after-school activities are in session, plus a short buffer of time […]