NYC Needs More Speed Cameras to Protect Every School

At Vision Zero Cities 2016 Conference, TransAlt, FSS and NYC elected officials call on Albany lawmakers to expand automated enforcement

New York City needs more speed safety cameras to protect every child in every school zone. That’s the message of the new #EverySchool campaign from Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets, a group of New Yorkers who have lost loved ones or been injured in traffic crashes. On Thursday, as they welcomed traffic safety experts from around the world at TransAlt’s Vision Zero Cities 2016 Conference, advocates once again called on Albany lawmakers to approve further expansion of New York City’s automated enforcement program.

“Right now we only have 140 speed cameras to protect 1.1 million public school students, and those cameras only work 60 hours a week – even though 85% of injuries and deaths happen on streets and during times when speed cameras are not authorized to issue violations,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “Every child in New York City deserves to be safe on the way to school.”

“The 140 cameras we have are starting to get results: speeding is down 60% in the areas where they’ve been installed,” said Amy Cohen from Families for Safe Streets. “But speeding remains the leading cause of preventable death for children under 14 and kills more New Yorkers than drunk driving and cell phone use at the wheel combined. If we’re going to get to Vision Zero, we need more cameras, and they need to be turned on 24 hours a day.”

"Once again, we are left to stress to our friends in Albany the importance of speed cameras in the effort to save lives," said City Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. It is our hope that we can finally have onerous restrictions lifted on one of the most proven ways to protect kids on our streets. This means more speed cameras at more locations around the city that have proven to be hotspots for unsafe driving; and it means fewer restrictions on usage to curb speeding when it actually happens. I am proud to join important partners like Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safer Streets in their tireless advocacy around these important issues."

“It’s simple: speed cameras protect our children from reckless drivers,” said City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “That’s why I’m proud to join Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets in calling for more speed cameras near schools in New York City. Speed is the leading cause of traffic fatalities, but cameras reduce dangerous driving. It’s a no brainer--we need more cameras to keep our children safe.”

State lawmakers first approved a pilot program with 20 speed cameras in 2013. The Assembly and the Senate voted the following year to expand the program to 140 cameras as part of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative. The cameras, which issue $50 tickets to drivers who go more than 10 mph above the speed limit, are limited to a quarter mile radius around a school and function only from one hour before school begins to one hour after it ends. With more than 2,000 schools in New York City, 93% of school zones are prevented from having cameras.