May 26, 2016 Staff Report
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer is calling on Albany to lift a cap on traffic speed cameras, which currently sit outside only 140 of New York City’s roughly 2,000 schools.
New York State first installed speed cameras in 20 school locations as part of a pilot program in 2013; the speed camera program was then expanded to 140. Now, Van Bramer has introduced a resolution, signed by 24 other council members and the public advocate, that calls on Albany to lift its cap and permit speed cameras at every school.
“Speed cameras are a simple, effective way to save lives and make our streets safer,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “We’re calling on Albany to step up and do the right thing. By allowing New York City to install speed cameras at every school, we can slow cars down and keep our children safe.”
State lawmakers have also attempted to lift the speed limit cap. Just last month, Assembly Member Deborah Glick introduced a bill that would permit the cameras in all school zones.
Resistance to cameras has come from those who see it as a civil liberties threat or a threat to police jobs, as well as drivers. However, according to Van Bramer’s office, the Department of Transportation has found a 60 percent reduction in speeding violations in areas monitored by cameras.
The DOT also states that pedestrians struck by vehicles traveling at 25 miles per hour – the City-wide default speed limit – are half as likely to die as those struck by vehicles traveling just five miles per hour faster.
Existing school speed cameras also operate only around school hours, from an hour before the start of the day to an hour after it as well as before and after night or weekend activities.
Van Bramer’s resolution proposes speed cameras that would operate 24 hours per day.
“Turning those cameras off after school hours leaves kids across the city vulnerable to dangerous speeding when they use school playgrounds and ball fields in the evenings and on weekends,” Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement. “Now is the time to act on this lifesaving legislation.”
The proposed speed cameras would detect cars traveling more than 10 miles per hour. It would take a picture of the car’s license and the driver will receive a $50 ticket with no points on their license.