NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City has suspended its use of speed cameras to crack down on dangerous driving near schools after lawmakers in Albany were unable to renew the program.
The state law authorizing the cameras expired Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. when state lawmakers couldn’t come to an agreement on extending the use of the 120 cameras before they wrapped up their annual session last month.
In a last-ditch effort Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio joined advocates at a rally to urge the State Senate to keep the city’s speed camera program alive and to return to Albany and act on a bill.
Sonia Russo’s 4-year-old daughter Ariel was killed as the little girl was being walk to her day care in June of 2013. The tragedy was one of several cases that led to a camera enforcement test program.
City officials credit the devices with decreasing speeding violations in school zones. According to officials, where the cameras are placed by schools speeding has gone down 60 percent.
“Right now, compared to last year, we are at 22 fewer fatalities, which is a pretty, pretty dramatic place to be,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio blame the Republican-led Senate for failing to renew the measure. The legislation passed the Democrat-controlled Assembly last month.
Republicans instead offered a bill for more red lights and stop signs around schools and have suggested more police officer patrols.
Sen. Martin Golden, who is holding a Brooklyn news conference on the speed cameras Wednesday afternoon, recently threw his support behind keeping the cameras going.
About a week ago, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer demanded answers from him.
“Is there any reason why the State Senate of New York can’t go back and pass this bill before the deadline?” she asked.
“No,” Golden replied.
“So why don’t you do it?” Kramer asked.
“That’s exactly what I’m trying to do,” he said.
In response, the governor said in part: “Maybe he should hold a protest in front of Senator Flanagan’s office and demand he bring his own conference back to Albany to vote for speed cameras on the merits, like they should have done in June.”
So far Republicans have balked at the request to return, blaming Cuomo for the impasse. Only 20 mobile cameras will now be operational, and the mayor says those are set to expire in about a month.
Calling state senators back to Albany can be done by the Senate Majority Leader or by the governor. After all the finger pointing, some advocates say they don’t care who does it as long as it gets done.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)