Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
Crash survivors, victims’ families, seniors, and elected officials rallied on the steps of City Hall on Thursday.
By Forum Staff
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday led a rally on City Hall steps demanding that legislative leaders in Albany include an expansion of New York City’s school zone speed enforcement camera program in the final State budget.
The program is set to expire in June.
“New Yorkers are tired of asking for the same thing year after year and getting nothing in return,” de Blasio said. “How many more people must be killed before Albany passes common sense legislation proven to save lives? Enough is enough. The time is now to extend and expand our speed cameras program – we cannot afford to wait another day.”
According to the de Blasio administration, where installed, speed cameras have been proven to reduce speeding in city school zones by 63 percent, with injuries to pedestrians dropping 23 percent. But under the current restrictions, 75 percent of the children who were killed or severely injured in traffic were hit at locations or at times where the City can’t legally use a camera.
The administration is calling for key reforms to the speed enforcement camera program: Authorize the City to install speed cameras at an additional 150 school zones—more than double the current number; revise the definition of a school zone to allow the City Department of Transportation to address speeding on streets that are near a school, as opposed to only the street or streets on which a school is located; extend the program until 2022.
“After four years of declining fatalities of Vision Zero, we know that speed cameras have saved lives, but the law authorizing New York City’s speed camera program expires this summer, putting us at a crucial juncture,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Most crashes happen in areas and during hours when speed cameras can’t operate. To continue the progress we have made, we not only need Albany action to allow speed cameras on more high-crash streets close to schools, we need to expand the hours when cameras can operate.”
In recent years, State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) has proposed several measures in the Legislature to augment speeding enforcement.
“It is unreasonable that in our city protecting children is a topic of debate. There should be no discussion when it comes to their well-being. We have an obligation to provide them with a safe environment when they go to and from school,” Peralta said on Thursday. “Extending and expanding my proposal to increase the number of school zone speed cameras is a no-brainer, as is implementing additional measures to crack down on speeding drivers.”