Bronx, NY – Concerned parents and advocates joined Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein outside of PS 81 in support of renewing the school zone speed camera program, where just five years ago Mayor Bloomberg announced the implementation of a life-saving speed camera safety program in select school zones. The pair of legislators urged the State Senate to reconvene in a special session and support the Assembly’s speed camera renewal legislation, which has so far languished in the upper chamber in favor of unpopular proposals to mandate new traffic controls or require armed guards at all schools.
In 2013, State Senator Klein shepherded New York City’s first speed camera enforcement program through the state legislature and allowed a limited number of school zones to install technology to catch speeding drivers. The program was established as a demonstration program and, without further action from the New York State Senate, will expire on July 25 of this year. Over the past five years, traffic fatalities have reached record lows and public support for speed cameras has grown significantly.
The New York State Assembly has passed legislation (A.7798-C/S.6046-C) for each of the past two years which would almost double the number of speed cameras to 290 school zones within New York City and would extend authorization for this program until 2022. However, despite dogged advocacy and clearly successful results from the 2013 pilot, the bill was not brought up for a vote before the State Senate adjourned for the year in June. Instead, the State Senate has publicly tied their support of speed cameras to unrelated initiatives such as putting armed guards in all schools.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) said: “Our schoolchildren are too important to get dragged into political games by the State Senate majority, who should be ashamed of themselves for letting this charade go on for as long as it has. We did our job in the Assembly to pass a clean renewal of the speed camera program, which has shown time and again that it is effective at saving lives and making streets safer, and it’s time that they did theirs. Senator Klein led the way in 2013, and he is leading the way again now in 2018. It’s time for the State Senate majority to follow his lead and get back to work to save our kids.”
State Senator Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) said: “There is no arguing that speed cameras save lives. In 2013 when I stood in Riverdale in front of PS 81, I made a commitment to this community and my constituents to protect our children and we delivered by implementing the speed camera pilot program that started this life-saving initiative. One year later, in 2014 I passed legislation to expand it to 140 school zones. The consequences of letting this program lapse are fatal. It's our children's lives that are at stake. I stand ready to go back to Albany and pass legislation to expand this program once again and ensure it does not end. Nobody should play politics with our children's lives.”
"Speed safety cameras are saving lives, and the vast majority of New Yorkers say we need more of them on our streets to protect our kids," said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. "The Republicans leading the state Senate are playing politics with people's lives. They need to get back to Albany and pass the bill to extend and expand the camera program now. The clock is ticking."Margaret Della, Executive Director of Kingsbridge Heights Community Center said: “Kingsbridge Heights Community Center (KHCC) serves 1,000 children and youth weekly through programs in local schools as well as at our Center, tucked between multiple schools where we pick up students in vans and on foot, transport children with special needs and operate like a school for young children from morning to night. We feel the daily threat of drivers operating at reckless speeds with impunity through our community's streets. We joined today's rally to implore the State to fund existing and expand the number of speed safety cameras protecting NYC schools.”
"We strongly urge renewing the school zone speed camera program,” said Charmaine Ruddock, Project Director for Bronx Health REACH at the Institute for Family Health. “With over 90 partner schools in the Bronx, students walking to and from school means that they are getting more physical activity. Speed safety cameras are an important means of ensuring that they do this safely.”