NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio joined a Transportation Alternatives rally Friday to support a state measure that would expand speed cameras from 140 school zones in New York City to 750.
The measure would allow the speed cameras to function from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
“Since speed cameras around schools have been working and saving lives, saving children’s lives, we should have them around more schools,” the mayor said. “Isn’t that the simplest thing you’ve heard in a long time?”
To 13-year-old Zane Walker, it’s personal after losing his best friend almost four years ago — killed by a speeding driver as he was walking on the sidewalk.
“If there had been an active speed camera there, the driver may have slowed down, and his life may have been saved,” Zane said.
“Every day as I’m walking to school, I’m so afraid for my life,” he added.
Outside City Hall, families and friends of other loved ones killed by drivers gathered and told their stories, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.
Eight-year-old Preston Liao lost his sister, Ali.
“I wish she was still here to play with me,” he said.
One advocate said schools that have cameras have seen a reduction in speeding of more than 60 percent.
The increase needs approval by the state, and there are bills in the New York Senate and Assembly.
“We need every member of the Legislature to understand they’re holding people’s lives in their hands,” de Blasio said.
But not everyone is a fan of speed cameras.
“I believe it’s the city’s way of making money or having their hand in the people’s pocket and stealing,” said driver Don Cammarano. “That’s the bottom line.”
Cammarano received a ticket on the Exit 6 ramp of the Staten Island Expressway, which also happened to be in a school zone.
“It’s great to protect the children — and I agree with that — but in this case, it’s the back end of the school. No children get out from there.”
Critics say there are better alternatives, such as speed bumps, stop signs and perhaps signs with flashing lights.
As for Cammarano, he got hit for a $50 dollar ticket and is furious because he says he can’t fight back.
“I have to know my accuser,” he said. “I’m fighting against an electronic or computer device, and I have no argument, no defense, and I have a right to have a defense.”
Supporters also want to expand the hours to go beyond the school day and have them not just around schools. But many in Albany feel it’s a money grab.