Photo Courtesy of Sen. Peralta’s Office
Elected officials and advocates detailed the proposed bill in Albany on Monday.
By Forum Staff
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan), and City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg joined transit safety advocates in Albany on Monday to unveil a bill aimed at cracking down on motorists that speed near City schools.
Under the proposed legislation, the City could install an additional 610 speed cameras, on top of the 140 cameras permitted under current law, for a total of 750.
“This bill will save lives and make our streets safer for everyone,” Peralta said. “Every day, more than one million children, teachers and parents travel to and from school, so we must ensure we deter drivers from speeding to keep everyone safe. Speeding is a leading cause of traffic fatalities in New York City, and with this mechanism we will crack down on reckless drivers. The safety of our children, and all New Yorkers, is a top priority. It is my hope we pass the measure and keep saving lives.”
According to the proposal, the cameras will be in operation from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., seven days a week. Currently, the use of these speed monitoring devices around City schools is limited to school hours and times of student activities. Additionally, the bill calls for the installation of warning signs within 300 feet of a camera, and it would mandate that a camera cannot be placed within 300 feet of a highway exit. The new legislation would expire on July 1, 2022.
“Under Vision Zero, we have had three successive years of declining traffic fatalities, bucking national trends that show fatalities rising. Speed cameras have been instrumental to our success in slowing drivers down and saving lives – and so we look forward to getting this critical legislation passed this session,” Trottenberg said.
According to the Peralta and Glick, the pilot program that allowed for the installation of the 140 speed cameras has been a success. Between 2014 and 2016, there was a 63-percent decline in speeding violations issued at a school zone camera location. In addition, 81-percent of motorists who received a violation for speeding in school areas have not received a second ticket. Injuries to pedestrians, motorists and cyclists also have declined by a 13-percent average at locations where cameras are located, despite the fact that the devices are not in operation during weekends and nights.
“Don’t want to pay $50? Then don’t speed, and you won’t get a ticket,” said Amy Cohen, founding member of Families for Safe Streets. “Far from being a trap or a money-maker, these cameras are having a real impact on changing driver behavior and making streets safer for everyone.”