Yet another report makes a clear case for municipal control of speed cameras – Streetsblog New York City

In the city that does not sleep, neither does death.

As activists make their case in Albany for the reauthorization and expansion of the city’s speed camera system, a report released today reiterates that 59% of road deaths in the five boroughs now occur at times when cameras are, under current law, unable to issue tickets.

Transportation Alternatives’ report, “Speeding Doesn’t Sleep: Albany’s Deadly Practice of Restricting the Operating Hours of New York City’s Speed ​​Safety Cameras,” is the latest compendium of long-known facts that bolsters claims by advocates for full service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. operation of speed cameras in multiple ways. The facts include:

  • that speed is a factor in approximately 80% of fatal crashes.
  • that speeding falls by 72% in places equipped with cameras.
  • that more than half of drivers who receive a speeding ticket issued by camera do not receive another one. Similarly, speeding in places where speed cameras have been installed drops rapidly.
Graphic: DOT
Graphic: DOT (Click to enlarge)

In addition to the report, the city’s own Department of Transportation reports [PDF] shows that speeding returns almost immediately after the cameras turn off (a graph, right, from its months-old report that is distributed to lawmakers by the DOT).

The same DOT report added another statistic that shows the importance of cameras running all day and weekends: 31% of all traffic deaths in the city occurred in school zones that had cameras, but at times when they were not legally allowed to operate. (The DOT also revealed in March the statistic of about 59% of deaths currently occurring on weekends or at night.)

This shortcoming partly explains why the number of road deaths is on track to be worse than last year, which was itself the worst year for deaths since the Vision Zero era began in 2014.

Nonetheless, Albany lawmakers have yet to pass a bill, SB5602, by State Sen. Andrew Gounardes that would reauthorize speed cameras and expand their use to all day, every day, instead of the current 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays only. . (Gounardes has another bill that would allow New York to expand its red-light camera system from about 150 intersections to 1,325 intersections.)

Campaigners fear lawmakers will fail to pass the bill, as they failed to pass numerous road safety bills last year. DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez will travel to Albany on Tuesday to personally lobby lawmakers.

“Speed ​​cameras have been proven to protect New Yorkers from injury and death. And, when Albany forces New York City to turn them off, their absence kills,” said Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “We need Albany to enable New York City to use speed cameras 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so that every neighborhood is protected from speeding every hour of the day, every day of the week.”

The urgency is clear. Already, at least 79 people have been killed on city streets through May 8, compared to 68 in the same period last year, an increase of 16%. And last week, crashes killed 12 New Yorkers.

Graphic: DOT
Graphic: DOT

Ahead of his return to Albany on Tuesday, Rodriguez rallied with Harris and other activists at the site of the murder last week of NYU student Raife Milligan by an allegedly drunk driver. Rodriguez called on lawmakers to pass Gounardes’ bill, but also promised to make changes he can make with his agency that don’t need Albany’s permission.

“We’re working on a bike lane here,” he said, referring to the ongoing construction of a protected bike lane on E. Houston Street east of First Avenue. “And we work every day to change the division from plastic bikes to stronger ones [and] construction of new elevated pedestrian crossings. But again, not just for me but for the rest of the team, our crisis, the epidemic that is killing us, the blood that we have in the streets is linked to reckless driving. We have to change the culture, and passing this bill is very important.

The Gounardes bill would only allow speed cameras again until July 1, 2025. As a result, city officials are also hoping to convince Albany lawmakers to give New York a “home rule” on the matter. local speed control. But that process is difficult, because lawmakers wield some power over the city every few years when officials come up the Hudson to seek new permission.

“While the program is still considered an Albany-controlled ‘demonstration’, it has long proven the merits of its permanence,” Transportation Alternatives said in a statement. “To keep people safe on the streets of New York, our leaders need every lifesaving tool available.”

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso added a comment via TA specifically about the domestic diet. “Local elected officials in New York City, including myself, have pleaded for our governor to grant us ‘home rule’ on the rules of the road. This would allow us to take the right steps, implement the necessary safety measures and keep our streets safe,” he said.

Governor Hochul seemed clear on Friday that she was willing to give local authorities the power to run local initiatives such as speed cameras.

Polls show New Yorkers overwhelmingly support speed cameras, which only go off when someone drives through a school zone at least 11 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. And in a 2021 survey commissioned by Open Plans and conducted by Data for Progress, 65% of respondents agreed with the statement that drivers should slow down, while just 12% said they don’t. didn’t need.

— with Dave Colon

Amanda J. Marsh