The New York State legislative session ended last night, with the Senate failing to vote on a bill, S6046-B (Peralta), that would allow New York City to expand its speed safety camera program despite the fact that the Assembly passed the companion bill, A7798-B (Glick), yesterday afternoon. On the heels of Senate inaction, Transportation Alternatives has released a new study which finds rampant speeding outside of New York City schools, none of which are able to operate speed safety cameras without the passage of S6046-B.
As the clock ran out last night, Coalition Leader Senator Jeff Klein demanded a special session to vote on S6046-B. Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets, along with the 270 organizations that make up the #EverySchool Coalition, echo this demand. New York City school children need more speed cameras before school is back in session in September.
For the study, Transportation Alternatives researchers recorded driver speeds outside of New York City schools, during school hours. At six locations in five boroughs, researchers found a majority of drivers traveling at dangerous, illegal speeds.
92% of drivers exceeded the speed limit in front of PS/IS 30 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
75% of drivers exceeded the speed limit in front of PS 97 in Gravesend, Brooklyn
74% of drivers exceeded the speed limit in front of Susan E. Wagner High School on Staten Island
Additionally, half of all drivers were found to exceed the speed limit on Boston Road, near three schools in Allerton, The Bronx; one-third of drivers were found to exceed the speed limit near schools in Flushing, Queens, and Harlem. None of the observed school zones had a speed safety camera. If the New York State Senate does not pass S6046-B, 100% of these schools, and many others like them throughout the five boroughs, will remain unprotected.
“We also have to make sure that we do speed cameras,” said Senator Jeff Klein on the floor for the senate yesterday, as he called for passage of S6046-B during a special session. “It's something as simple as making sure people don't speed around schools. You would think that was a no-brainer. But yet I think what we've done by installing these speed cameras, and now Senator Peralta is picking up the torch to expand it even more, has gone a long way towards reducing fatalities...It's a program that works, I hope it can be enhanced, and I hope when we come back we can do just that.”
“It is unconscionable that the New York State Senate would prevent New Yorkers from protecting their children,” said Families for Safe Streets founding member Amy Cohen. “My son is dead because of a speeding driver. I’ve dedicated my life to preventing other mothers suffering my fate. Yet our desperation for protection has been tied into a knot of ineffective politics in Albany while speeding continues across our city. With Families for Safe Streets, I join Senator Jeff Klein’s call for a special session to pass S6046-B.”
“New York City knows what is best for New York City kids, and overwhelmingly, New Yorkers want the protection that speed cameras provide,” said TransAlt Executive Director Paul Steely White. “This is the call to action from 84% of voting New Yorkers, Mayor Bill de Blasio, the New York City Police Department, and the New York City Council: Let us protect our children with the best safety technology. Hold a special session to pass S6046-B.”
Background on S6046-B and New York City’s Speed Camera Program
According to a poll of likely voters conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, commissioned by Transportation Alternatives, 84% of New Yorkers support placing more speed cameras near NYC schools.
S6046-B (Peralta) would add 50 new school zones with cameras each year for the next three years (up from 140 currently allowed), for a total of 290 school zones, and would extend the program through 2022 (preventing it from expiring in 2018). Additionally, the legislation would prohibit cameras within 300 feet of a highway exit ramp, and would require signage within 300 feet of a school location to alert drivers of upcoming cameras.
The New York State Assembly passed the companion bill, A7798-B (Glick), by a margin of 85 to 39.
According to the NYC Department of Transportation, between 2010 and 2014, 85% of traffic deaths or severe injuries occurred at locations or times where speed safety cameras are prohibited.
Additionally, the NYC DOT found 75-100% of vehicles that exceeded the speed limit, did so within 1/4 mile of at least 100 New York City schools.
According to the NYC DOT, there has been a 63% reduction in speeding violations and 23% reduction in pedestrian crash injuries in locations where speed cameras have been installed
Read the full text of Transportation Alternatives' new study: