Democrats, Republicans Cannot Agree If Speed Camera Program Should Only Be Restored Or Dramatically Increased


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Something will be missing when 1 million New York City kids go back to school in two weeks.

Speed cameras at 140 schools will be turned off, because the state Legislature failed to renew the program.

It’s a layer of safety that has been removed.

So is the city taking any other steps to keep kids safe? CBS2’s Tony Aiello tried to get some answers on Thursday.

MOREPush To Renew Speed Cameras In NYC School Zones

Speed enforcement cameras near the Razi School in the Woodside section of Queens have been credited with a 60-percent reduction in speeding on a stretch of Queens Boulevard since they were installed.

“Those cameras are a way of saving lives, being a preventive measure in saving children and adults as well,” Razi School director Imani Moore said.

A roadblock is fast approaching for the New York State program that uses cameras to catch speeders in school zones. (CBS2)

But on Thursday, a speed gun showed plenty of speeding, including one driver going 35 mph, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.

Advocates say it’s because drivers know the cameras were shut off on July 25.

“We need this program to be restored,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.

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John Flanagan, the Long Island Republican who controls the state Senate, said he is willing to restore the program, but Democrats want to expand it, double the number of schools covered and make the cameras run 24-7, instead of only during school hours.

When CBS2’s Aiello asked Van Bramer if he agreed with Flanagan about restoring the existing program, he said, “I’m saying at a bare minimum, right?”

He then looked over to a safe streets activist and walked his comment back.

“Let me be very clear: I believe this program should be expanded,” Van Bramer said.

So until the mess in Albany is resolved, the question is what will the city do to increase safety at schools that lost speed camera coverage?

There will definitely be increased NYPD speeding enforcement. Some members of the City Council said they want more radar signs telling drivers they’re speeding. There’s even a proposal to ban cars on some streets near schools.

The city does not plan to remove the “Speed Photo Enforced” signs, even though as of Aug. 31 every camera will be turned off, Aiello reported.