DOT Rebounds from Last
Year's Albany Follies-Renews Push
The city department of transportation (DOT) is focusing its 2002 legislative energies on winning 100 new red light cameras for a total of 150. The agency is also renewing its request for state authorization to use speed cameras. DOT deserves applause for coming back strong after last year's frustrating legislative session. During that session, the automated traffic enforcement bills were stymied by upstate legislators who criticized the cameras as being both "unfair" and "unforgiving." (Are these not contradictory?) In fact, NYC's 50 red light cameras have achieved dramatic safety improvements, reducing crashes by 40% at intersections where they are posted. Additionally, the motoring public overwhelmingly endorses the cameras. The January 10th, 2002 issue of Car and Travel reported that 89% of NY State AAA members polled supported red light cams.
No question, the safety problem is real. A 2000 report by then Comptroller Alan Hevesi determined that motorists ran one million red lights a day in New York City. Fortunately, this session, the legislators sponsoring the bills, Assemblymember Ivan Lafayette and State Senator Frank Padavan (who T.A. honored in 1998 for sponsoring the NYC Traffic Calming Law), are not only effective, but also deeply invested in this legislation and pedestrian safety. T.A. worked hard to pass those bills and will once again team with the legislative sponsors and the City to win expanded authorization for the cameras. One piece of good news is that the City's ace Albany lobbyist Andra Horsch has moved over from the Mayor's Office and been appointed head of Government Relations at DOT. There she will quarterback the legislative campaign.
While battling in Albany, the DOT is installing 200 dummy red light cameras to keep dangerous drivers guessing-and stopping at red lights.
Let Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver know you support legislation to allow the number of red light cameras in New York to be expanded from 50 to 75. E-mail Silver at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please cc T.A. at email@example.com. Be sure to include your name and address so that your e-mail will be treated as official correspondence.
To read more about T.A.'s work to win more red light cameras, visit www.transalt.org/redlight.
T.A. applauds the DOT's determination to expand the red light camera program and win permission for speed cameras. Commissioner Iris Weinshall deserves credit for her fortitude and personal effort to pass this important legislation.