Speed cameras will resume issuing tickets after Council negotiates deal with governor

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Speeding drivers had better get ready for their close up.

The city’s 140 school-zone speed cameras will resume issuing tickets the day before more than 1.1-million schoolchildren return to classes on Sept. 5, thanks to a Council-brokered deal between Mayor DeBlasio and Gov. Cuomo.

A Park Slope mother who lost her son to a speeding driver five years ago and has led the charge calling for the cameras to be turned back on said she was grateful that Cuomo supported the solution after the Republican-led state Senate failed to vote to pass a bill to turn the cameras back on.

“After your child dies, it’s hard to ever be grateful — the world seems very dark and cruel,” said Amy Cohen, whose 12-year-old son, Sammy Cohen Eckstein, was killed by a speeder in 2013. “But today we all stood with [Cuomo] and had a measure of gratitude for his willingness to explore and engage a creative solution because the Senate was not acting.”

Gov. Cuomo took the first step to turn the cameras back on by declaring a state of emergency before the city’s school year begins, and signing an executive order on Aug. 27 reinstating the state law and granting the city access to state Department of Motor Vehicle records so that it can resume sending tickets to the owners of cars that the cameras catch speeding. The Council will introduce and vote on legislation to reinstate the program in an emergency meeting today, and Mayor DeBlasio plans to sign it into law on Sept. 4.

Council Speaker Corey Johnson told the New York Daily News, which first reported news of the deal on Aug. 26, that the new bill “allows for the expansion of the program,” but the Council press office did not respond to a follow-up inquiry by press time about how and when the bill could add more cameras.

Cuomo said the temporary fix does not absolve the state Senate from the responsibility to pass a bill preserving and expanding the program, since executive orders are only valid for 30 days and he’ll have to re-sign it each month.

“This is not a substitute for the state legislature coming back and passing the law,” Cuomo said. “We still need the Senate to act responsibly and come back and pass a permanent law so we don’t have to do this, 30 days by 30 days interim situation … they didn’t do it since January, and they’re still refusing to do it now, and it is inexcusable.”

The state Senate ended its session on June 20 without voting on a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the speed cameras and double their number citywide over the next five years after state Sen. Simcha Felder (D–Midwood) — who caucuses with Senate Republicans — did not allow it to leave the Cities Committee, which he chairs. As a result the city’s 140 cameras — present in six percent of the city’s 2,300 school zones — stopped doling out tickets on July 25, when the original 2013 authorization expired.

But the city kept the cameras on to collect speed data, and the mayor’s office announced on Aug. 13 that the cameras caught 132,253 drivers speeding through school zones citywide between July 26 and Aug. 10 — and 67 percent of those were in 42 school zones across Brooklyn, according to a spokesman from the mayor’s office.

Statistics prove that the cameras do slow drivers down and improve safety. There were more than 60-percent fewer speeding violations in school zones with speed cameras in the two years after they were first installed in 2014, and a nearly 15-percent reduction in injuries in school zones with the cameras, according to a Department of Transportation report published last year. And the cameras reduced fatalities in school zones by 55 percent since they were installed.

Activists spent the summer demanding that leaders in the state Senate’s Republican majority — particularly state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) — do more to pressure Majority Leader John Flanagan (R–Long Island) to reconvene the chamber and bring the bill to a floor for a vote. But Golden issued a statement in response to the new speed-camera deal that accused Cuomo of hiding behind the mayor and the Council, and even suggested that it would be successfully challenged in court.

“A short-term solution is no solution at all,” Golden said. “The Executive Order allowing the City Council to circumvent the Legislature is likely in violation of State Law. There will be a ticket issued, and someone will sue saying it is illegal. The State will lose, there will be confusion, and that will cause distraction to the fact our children will still not have the protection of speed cameras.”

Cuomo conceded that there may be legal pushback to the measure, but said he believes it is legitimate and necessary to protect the lives of kids, and accused state Senate’s Republican majority of prioritizing politics over children’s lives.

“I believe it is legally prudent and legally sustainable, but it is an aggressive legal action,” Cuomo said. “But I believe we are also in extraordinary circumstances, and I’m not going to be a governor who sits by and jeopardize human life, especially the lives of children.”

Councilman Justin Brannan (D–Bay Ridge) said the Council stepped in where the state Senate abdicated its responsibility to the public to vote on the bill to preserve and expand the program.

“The Republican-controlled state Senate made it clear their solution was to use school kids as pawns while blaming everybody but themselves,” Brannan said. “The Council persisted and found a way to fix this problem in time for the start of school. People elect their politicians to fix problems, not to point fingers.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 9:04 am, August 29, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Frank from Furter says:
The speed camera tickets in the past only issued tickets when the car was driven more than 10 miles over the limit. I.e. 35 in the cities 25 mile limit.
Aug. 29, 2018, 8:24 am
Mike from Slope says:
We should have speed cameras on every block of the city, and red light cameras at every intersection. Drivers need to be forced to drive safely -- don't like it? Then don't speed or run lights.
Aug. 29, 2018, 8:45 am
Tyler from pps says:
Marty Golden invoking "we need to protect our children!" is really rich, seeing he is the DIRECT CAUSE of all of this.
Aug. 29, 2018, 10:24 am
Frank from Furter says:
The direct cause was Sen. Simcha Felder (D–Midwood). Marty was only along for the ride. What Simcha felder wanted to pass the red light bill was a cop(not an unarmed school safety officer) permanently assigned to every school and every parochial school..i.e. every Yeshiva religious school etc. The NYPD is very good about assigning police when there is a threat and doesn't have the personnel for every school all the time.
Aug. 29, 2018, 11:08 am
Tyler from pps says:
Well, Sen. Simcha Felder (Opportunist-Midwood) is a scum bag, we know that. But he was transparent about it and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the state senate. Marty Golden actively allowed this to happen. He wasn't just "along for the ride." Hopefully he gets his pink slip this year too.
Aug. 29, 2018, 11:28 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Here's that same letter again from the Daily News that I posted that states what's really going on in those school zones with the speed cameras, and again I'm just the messenger to this, so please write the Daily News if you any beef with this.

Bumps in the road

Brooklyn: Speed cameras don’t stop kids from running into the streets now, do they? What would be the best solution for both parties, the cars and the kids, are speed bumps. Everybody crying about cameras: All cameras do are show you who ran you over; speed bumps will slow down every car coming, to the point, if you did get hit by a car, you wouldn’t even know it. Wake up, de Blasio, speed bumps are much cheaper, and need no one looking at a camera all day. Cars are only 50% of the problem; the uneducated kids running out in front of them are the other half. Common sense!

Patrick Doyle
Aug. 29, 2018, 2:50 pm
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Patrick Doyle's letter references "the uneducated kids running out in front of them." Gee, much racist victim blaming there, Tal?

I know everyone prefers the "articulate" and "neat" ones; they don't "monkey up" a motorist's day by mindlessly getting run over at 50 mph.
Aug. 29, 2018, 3:59 pm
Frank from Furter says:
Kids run out in the street. The slower the cars go 15\25 speed bumps speed cameras the more likely they will survive. That is why we have school zones. But without the cameras or the bumps they become road kill because the drivers don't slow down...
Aug. 29, 2018, 6:10 pm
Amy says:
Thank you Council member Brannan for doing the job Senator Golden refuses to do
Aug. 29, 2018, 7:19 pm
Wilbur D. Horse from Ebbets Field says:
I see pedestrians staring at iPhones while crossing the street. Yet the law makes drivers unwilling "foster parents" of these ignorant walkers. The same goes for arrogant cyclists who blast the volume on their earbuds when they sail through stop signs. You say you hate cars? Then put your money where your mouth is: don't use Uber, Lyft, or a car service, especially when it's raining or you're running late.
Aug. 30, 2018, 7:19 am
Mind boggled from Brooklyn says:
Mustache Pete equates "uneducated" with whom? Minorities? Racist much?
Aug. 30, 2018, 8:34 am
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Mind boggled from Brooklyn,

Read Patrick Doyle's NY Daily News letter, courtesy of TalBOT "Do you live here?" Barzilai. Then read what I wrote again. Sarcasm.
Aug. 30, 2018, 5:39 pm
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Wilbur D. Horse,

I'm as frustrated by the iPod people as you. People should put the damn things away when walking or crossing a street. And bicyclists should be more considerate of pedestrians.I'll grant you all of that. Ask your friendly, incorruptible legislators to make better laws.

But put it in perspective: most motor vehicles are 3-6,000 pounds of steel, plastic, and rubber. Compare that to 30-300 lbs. flesh and blood. It's annoying to watch these idiots glide by obtusely, but what's 30 seconds-2 minutes compared to taking a human life?

One of the Ten Commandments is Thou Shalt Not Kill. Motor vehicles shouldn't have a special exemption, even in NYC.
Aug. 30, 2018, 5:51 pm
FUKOFFFATTIES from SUVville says:
Good! there should be speed cameras on every street in every borough. Motorists have proven that they cannot be trusted to follow the law.
Aug. 30, 2018, 7:29 pm
Wilbur D. Horse from Ebbets Field says:
Mustache Pete: and I agree with your point as well. But deBlasio wants to place All the blame on motor vehicles. He wants to reduce our streets to conveyor belts, so that there is no longer an incentive to drive. This will never happen, as the MTA is in deep debt, and underfunded. And the people know it. Yet his Vision Zero ads are always completely silent re texting peds and oblivious bikers. Yes, everyone hates lawyers, cops, and cars -- until they need one!
Aug. 31, 2018, 6:09 am
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Wilbur D. Horse: From what I've seen, Vision Zero is a marketing campaign designed to make NYC look like it's "doing something" about the high number of fatalities caused by motor vehicles. I don't see the substance.

If de Blasio is placing all the blame on motor vehicles, I haven't heard him say it. Nor has he changed his own habits to set an example. To be fair, I listen to what comes out of that fool's mouth as little as possible.

If he has said this, the NYPD sure isn't listening. But of course they never listen to him either.
Aug. 31, 2018, 11:32 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I have to agree with Wilbur on this. It's very easy to blame motor vehicles and motorists even when the accidents they commit aren't completely their faults. There really are pedestrians who aren't alert when they cross. This isn't blaming the victim, this is understanding what is really going on. However, I won't place the blame completely on de Blasio for this, but more on Paul Steely White, who is the head of Transportation Alternatives. He is known for having an anti-car bias and every time I have asked for his supporters to disprove that, they have either gotten defensive or have given me the cold shoulder on that. Until they can refute my claim, it will hold true by default. As for the letter by Patrick Doyle, he wrote that on his own and wasn't asked by anybody to do so, but I do agree with him for understanding what is really going on.
Aug. 31, 2018, 12:38 pm
Frank from Furter says:
Pedestrian deaths are the lowest since 1910. In 2017 101 pedestrians died down from 180 or so in 2013.
Aug. 31, 2018, 3:29 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Frank, Transportation Alternatives hates anyone who drives even if they are careful drivers, plus I wouldn't be surprised if most of those protesting for the speed cameras was White's flash mob that usually go with him rather than actual residents from Golden's district.
Sept. 1, 2018, 2:07 pm

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