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Pols propose doubling NYC school zones with speed cameras

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Current legislation covers just 290 of the city’s roughly 1,700 school zones

Speed cameras in school zones led to a 63 percent decrease in area speeding between 2014 and 2016.
Courtesy DOT

A new bill proposed by New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assembly Member Deborah Glick would more than double the city’s school zones with speed cameras and drastically expand their hours of operation.

Under the proposed legislation, the city’s school zones protected by speed cameras would increase from the 290 approved by Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio last September to 750 of the roughly 1,700 throughout the city. The cameras would also run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. instead of just during school hours, as well as during summer vacation. Additionally, cameras would operate within a quarter mile radius of schools rather than just one-quarter of a mile from the school building.

A 2017 report by the Department of Transportation found that between the years 2014 and 2016, speed cameras in school zones led to a 63 percent decrease in area speeding and a 15 percent reduction in crashes. In the five years they’ve been in effect, they’ve also led to the issuance of some 5 million speeding tickets—more than roughly ten times the amount of speeding tickets NYPD officers have issued in that time. In other words, they’re proven to work.

Streetsblog reports that the new proposed legislation is not the first such bill veteran state Assembly member Glick has proposed, but prior iterations of the bill have failed to pass the state’s formerly Republican-controlled Senate. It seems likely that the Democrat-controlled Assembly and Senate will pass the bills—reopening an opportunity for Gov. Cuomo to step up and approve the proven life-saving measure.

As Streetsblog notes, police unions have opposed the cameras in the past, “saying that cops are better suited to punish lawbreakers of all stripes because speeders may also have committed other crimes.”

The bill would go into effect 30 days after being signed into law by Gov. Cuomo, and would expire on July 1, 2022.