In just over a month, New York City’s speed camera program will get a dramatic expansion—not just in absolute numbers, but in how they track speeding drivers throughout the city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the new speed camera program will go into effect on July 11, with about 40 cameras installed every month through the end of the year. By this time next year, the city will have just about reached its ultimate target of getting 750 speed cameras in school zones.
Those cameras will also have expanded hours, tracking vehicles from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and a wider range of enforcement. (The fines, however, are not particularly large—speeders are issued tickets of $50 when they go 10 miles above the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour.) The program will now sunset in 2022.
The speed cameras were the byproduct of a pilot program, enacted by Cuomo and implemented by New York City’s Department of Transportation in 2014, that brought the traffic-calming measure to 140 school zones across the city. Speed cameras have reduced the number of crashes in the city since they were implemented, and transit advocates previous pushed for legislation allowing their use to be extended.
Instead, last summer—when the camera program was due to expire—any hope of the its extension through new legislation was quashed, as the Republican-controlled state Senate refused to vote on a bill that had passed the state Assembly. The cameras went dark for one month, during which time hundreds of thousands of drivers violated the speed limit in the previously protected areas.
But after tireless campaigning by transit advocates, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and City Council speaker Corey Johnson banded together to ensure they were turned back on. In the spring, the state legislature passed bills allowing the new program to move forward.
“With this law change, we will on July 11th double the number of hours cameras are operable—and in the months ahead, we will install new cameras at an unprecedented rate,” DOT commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement. “We are hopeful that we can continue to make progress on Vision Zero, where we have seen fatalities decline in New York City for five years running.”