New York Fails to Renew Speed Cameras

Commentary & Community

New York Fails to Renew Speed Cameras

 

Speed cameras in New York City school zones will soon be shut off. Legislators failed to approve a bill to renew these cameras’ authorization. Community activists and the city’s mayor have pushed for these cameras to be continued, but lawmakers left Albany at the end of their legislative session without acting. Unless they return for a special session, the speed camera experiment in the Big Apple will be over.

 

Five years ago, the state legislature authorized the operation of speed cameras in 20 New York City school zones. This number was later expanded to 140 school zones. These cameras automatically ticket drivers going over 10 miles per hour over the speed limit in streets around schools. They operate during school days, one hour before school starts and one hour after school ends.

 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was a vocal proponent of these cameras, but he had no authority to put them in place. That authority rests with the state, and legislators had to act to renew the program this year. They did not do so.

 

Some members of the community where these cameras are located lobbied legislators for reauthorization. They say that the cameras make school zones safer, pointing to a reducing in accidents over the past five years. Opponents of the cameras contend that cameras should not enforce the law. One legislator who opposed renewal of the program instead wants better signage and more police presence.

 

Besides the differences of opinion on the merits of speed cameras, this issue was also caught up in larger political issues in the legislature. It is possible that this program could be renewed if legislators meet in a special session later this year.

 

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