Speed cameras have proven their efficiency in reducing car accidents as well as pedestrian injuries and deaths. As part of the Vision Zero Program, 140 speed cameras were installed nearby schools all over the city. The installation of the cameras led to a decline of 63% of speeding in school zones and pedestrian injuries decreased by 23%.
Based on this successful record the city asked the NY Senate for more cameras but New York State Senators refused to vote on a bill to continue the program and increase the number of cameras in NYC school zones to 290. As a result, all the 140 cameras were shut off in the middle of last summer.
After that episode, the Mayor signed a new city bill at the beginning of September to not only preserve but also expand the use of speed cameras in school zones. In order for the bill to become law, Cuomo declared a state of emergency and so far has been renewing the emergency order every month. The bill provided no cap on the number of speed cameras that the city was permitted to deploy. The result of a collaborative effort between City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, the bill can only expire after the state legislature passes a “photo speed violation monitoring program in the City of New York that is identical to, substantially similar to or more expansive in scope than the program that would result from the enactment of A. 7798-C, as passed by the New York state assembly on June 18, 2018.”
A few days ago Cuomo announced plans to return the control of the camera program to the State and expand it from 140 to 290. However Corey Johnson says that the Cuomo proposal can not replace the actual City bill because the proposal for 290 speed cameras is neither substantially similar nor more expansive than the actual bill that allows for an unlimited number of cameras. Brad Lander, a City Councilman and co-sponsor of the council’s camera bill believes Cuomo should propose to give New York City the authority to run its own program so every school could be protected.
Read more in the Gothamist