OPINION: Give the State Senate an F on speed cameras
The speed camera enforcement program on Main Street in Flushing and near schools throughout Queens and Brooklyn has been suspended as of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Technically the cameras are still working, but only to collect data.
Motorists can drive as fast as they want in a school zone without fear that these cameras will generate a $50 ticket. The cameras will be useless during the school summer session and useless when the children return in the fall. The millions invested in this program will have been wasted.
There has been a lot of finger pointing over the last three days, but the fact is that the entire state Senate shares the blame. They failed to pass legislation already passed by the Assembly that would have extended the program. The legislation would have had no budget impact.
The Senate ignored pleas from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to return to Albany to vote on the legislation.
Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White, a vocal advocate of the speed cameras, asked, “Imagine a government allowing drunk driving laws to lapse. It would be unthinkable to intentionally make our streets more dangerous, but that is exactly what the Republican leadership in the Senate has decided to do, except the offense they’ve decided to legalize is even more deadly.”
And at a press conference in Manhattan Gov. Cuomo said the senators were endangering children’s lives. “You are putting lives in jeopardy. It is that simple. You will see speeding and recklessness increase, and you will put lives in jeopardy.”
The City argued that there is statistical evidence that the cameras work. Data shows that they reduce speeding by more than 60 percent; the number of struck pedestrians dropped by 17 percent and fatal crashes dropped by 55 percent in areas where speed cameras were in use.
We give the Senate an “F” and urge the senators to take care of business on day one of the next session.
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