2018-08-22 / Features

Call For Special Session To Bring Back Speed Cams

NYS Senator Jose Peralta and transportation safety advocates urge Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to call a special session to hold a vote to renew and expand the school zone speed camera program. NYS Senator Jose Peralta and transportation safety advocates urge Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to call a special session to hold a vote to renew and expand the school zone speed camera program. With more than one million New York City students returning to school on September 5, NYS Senator Jose Peralta called on New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan on August 13 to reconvene the Senate for a special session to renew and expand the school zone speed camera program. The five-year pilot program, first authorized by the State Legislature in 2013 and expanded one year later, recently expired on July 25. Under this program, 140 cameras were placed near schools within the most dangerous traffic corridors and intersections across the city.

The school zone speed camera program has saved lives. There has been a 63% decline in speeding violations at locations with this speed monitoring technology, resulting in safer streets and an overall decline in traffic-related injuries and deaths.

Due to the tireless work of Peralta, Transportation Alternatives, Families for Safe Streets and countless other advocates, support for this critical legislation only continues to grow. Senator Pamela Helming recently became the 35th co-sponsor of the bill, which has more than enough support to pass the Senate. Co-sponsoring the bill are all 31 members of the State Democratic Conference, along with four Republican Senators: Marty Golden, Helming, Elaine Phillips and Patty Ritchie. Prior to the Legislative Session concluding in June, the New York City Council approved a required Home Rule Message and the bill was then approved by the Assembly on June 18. Governor Cuomo has pledged to sign the legislation once it passes the Senate.

“Currently, we have 35 co-sponsors on this truly bipartisan bill. We have to stop playing politics with our children’s lives. Who are the grown-ups here? Sadly, Republican leadership refuses to reconvene the Senate to reinstate and expand the life-saving school zone speed camera program. We have three weeks until more than one million children return to school in New York City. Let’s return to Albany, right this wrong and ensure our kids are protected when they go back to school,” said Senator Peralta.

Raul Ampuero, member of Families for Safe Streets, said, “Speed cameras save lives. What more is necessary to know? A State Senate vote to save lives should be the most simple thing to do. It is just one day of travel to Albany, one vote to cast and you will save lives and help prevent the terrible pain of losing a loved one, like I lost my son, Giovanni. This is about our children and our families—the most precious in our lives. Yet for some reason that is beyond comprehension. The Republican State Senate leaders have refused to even vote on this. This is inexcusable. They need to do their job and make sure they pass the speed camera bill before kids return to school in September.”

Marco Conner, legislative & legal director, Transportation Alternatives, said, “This June the State Senate left for vacation without doing its most simple job: protecting New Yorkers and NYC school children. Much worse, they made our streets even more dangerous. On September 5, hundreds of thousands of kids will be without the life-saving protection of speed safety cameras they’ve had for four years. The State Assembly has done its job and passed the bill to renew and expand the cameras. Governor Cuomo is ready to sign the bill. And 35 State Senators, more than a majority, cosponsor the Senate bill. The Republican State Senate majority must allow a vote on S.6046-C and pass it before kids return to school.”

On August 9, Senator Peralta sent a letter to the Senate majority leader urging him to reconvene the Senate. “The safety of New York City school kids should not remain in jeopardy,” wrote Peralta in the missive.

For more than a year now, Peralta has been calling on the State Senate to vote on his bill (S.6046- C) to reauthorize and expand this initiative. Under the proposed bill, 150 speed-monitoring devices would be added to the existing 140. The program would be in operation for the next four years. Until July 25, these automated speed enforcement devices had been active beginning one hour before, until one hour after, a scheduled school day. Additionally, the cameras were in operation from up to 30 minutes prior, and until 30 minutes following, student activities.

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