Need for speed cameras: Ridge pol’s bill would bring hundreds more to city school zones

Camera ready: A new bill in Albany introduced by state Sen. Andrew Gounardes (right) would more than quintuple the number of city school-zone speed cameras if passed by the Legislature and Gov. Cuomo.
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The number of school-zone speed cameras across the city could quintuple if state lawmakers pass a new bill introduced by a Southern Brooklyn pol on Thursday.

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes’s (D–Bay Ridge) legislation would allow local officials to install up to 750 cameras across the city’s 2,300 school zones, where the current 140 cameras in place do not adequately protect young scholars from reckless drivers, he said.

“I do not want to be in a position where I tell people, ‘Your child’s school is or is not worthy of having street protection in front of it.’ This is a proven solution to the problem of speeding, especially in school zones,” said Gounardes, who recently launched a street-safety task force in his district, which includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Marine Park, Manhattan Beach, Gerritsen Beach, and parts of Sheepshead Bay, Borough Park, and Midwood.

In addition to increasing the amount of cameras — which automatically photograph the license plates of cars driving thirty miles-per-hour or more in school zones, and send the vehicles’ registered owners $50 tickets — the bill would also:

• Lengthen the hours the cameras are on, extending their current operating times from an hour before and after school is in session to between 6 am and 10 pm on weekdays.

• Broaden the areas where the cameras operate, allowing officials to install them within a quarter-mile radius of schools, not just within a quarter-mile stretch of the same street a given school is on as current law allows.

• Require the city to hang signs in school zones with speed cameras that warn drivers of the technology’s presence.

• Mandate local officials prioritize placing the cameras in school zones with higher rates of speeding and crashes.

• Require the city to submit annual reports to the governor and leadership of both chambers of the Legislature with data including the total amount of ticket revenue that local officials spent on traffic and pedestrian safety measures, as well as “the effectiveness and adequacy of the [expanded] hours of operation.”

Data shows that the already in place speed cameras work. In the two years after officials first installed them in 2014, there were 60-percent fewer daily violations in school zones with speed cameras, according to a report published by the Department of Transportation last year.

And the majority of Gounardes’s constituents support expanding their presence, according to a 2018 poll commissioned by street-safety group Transportation Alternatives.

The cameras became a hot-button issue last year’s 22nd state Senate District race between Gounardes and former eight-term Republican state Sen. Marty Golden — a known speeder and long-standing opponent to the technology, who briefly reversed his stance on the issue as the speed-camera program authorized in 2013 approached its expiration date last summer.

Back then, Golden supported a bill to preserve and expand the number of cameras to 290. But his colleague, state Sen. Simcha Felder (D–Midwood), blocked the legislation from leaving the Cities Committee, which he chaired at the time, for a floor vote in the upper chamber. And the cameras subsequently switched off in late July, forcing Council to broker an emergency deal between Mayor DeBlasio and Gov. Cuomo, who signed an executive order to turn the tech back on before school started in September.

Cuomo earlier this year included a proposal in his executive budget that would reinstate the speed-camera program without the need for an executive order, and up the number of cameras to 290. But reps for the governor did not immediately reply when asked if he would sign Gounardes’s bill into law if it passes in the Legislature. Manhattan Assemblywoman Deborah Glick on Thursday also introduced the lower chamber’s version of the Brooklyn pol’s bill.

And Gounardes is confident the governor would back his legislation, he said, adding that 290 is the minimum number of cameras that local officials hope to install citywide.

“The consensus seemed to be that the 290 was just a starting point for discussion, based on where that discussion had ended last year,” the pol said. “There did not seem to be obstacle in my initial conversation [with the governor] to bumping that up. We’ve been discussing this bill with the city, with the Council — everyone seems to be on board.”

Should the bill become law, it would be valid beginning 30 days after Cuomo signs it through June 30, 2022. But Council will first need to pass a resolution — called a Home Rule Request — asking the Assembly and state Senate to pass the legislation, since it only affects the city.

Reps for Council, which convenes its next session on March 13, did not immediately respond when asked whether its members planned to pass the resolution then.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 12:35 pm, March 8, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Walter Whitman from The Heights says:
Is there an epidemic of cars hitting kids in front of schools that I don’t know about? These politicians just want to take more of your money. You elected these fools, you get what you deserve!
March 7, 2019, 9:21 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
More cameras is not the answer. What about stepped up enforcement of bad driving and the 25 speed law?
March 7, 2019, 10:20 pm
SMH from Real America says:
SMH at all you fools that allow yourselves to be taken to the cleaners by your Tammany Hall overlords. Billions of dollars stolen from you, just like that. And you all just sit there with your tails between your legs and beg for mercy. In real America we would fight back against this kind of theft. Grow a spine and defend yourselves, suckers.
March 7, 2019, 10:35 pm
Haley from Park Slope says:
The surveillance state just grows and grows ! I don't want them to be able to watch me whenever they feel like it!
March 8, 2019, 4:29 am
Frank from Furter says:
You know these cameras are set for 11 miles over the limit? So you support the wanton speeding that takes place. The cameras slow people down, although I think you should get one warning ticket a year. The first one is free as a reminder. the woman who ran over and killed 2 people in park slope had 3 on her car in less than a year. and Haley cameras are everywhere. the City can have as many as they want but only a limited of number to track and ticket speeders.
March 8, 2019, 7:35 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
About time something was done to address reckless driving in Bay Ridge. Now let’s drop the pretense that these are needed only in school zones. And how about installing dozens of red light and stop sign cameras in Bay Ridge? Enforcement through cameras is the only way to change the culture of lawlessness by drivers in Bay Ridge. The 68th Prec has refused to enforce moving violations for decades, and that has created the chaos we see now. It is not their priority and never will be. We have decades of data that demonstrates the 68’s refusal to do their job. The 68 is simply never going to be part of a solution to reckless driving in Bay Ridge. If you don’t want a ticket from camera enforcement don’t speed or blow through red lights and stop signs. It’s really pretty simple.
March 8, 2019, 7:42 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Motorists cannot be trusted to drive the speed limit. The only way they will learn is to keep up camera enforcement with heavy fines. When they are delinquent with payment, impound their vehicle and send them directly to jail. We don't need these animals out on our streets.
March 8, 2019, 8:05 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
What about Andy's muscle car collection? Where does he drive in first gear? Revenue! Money for the piggies to waste! Give us more!
March 8, 2019, 8:47 am
Michael says:
If you think they aren’t going to use this to spy on people, you clearly haven’t heard of the Patriot Act. Protect our privacy!
March 8, 2019, 8:54 am
Realistic from Somewhere Better says:
Camera enforcement of speeding is ridiculous! 25 mph on major roads like Union Tpk., Atlantic Ave., etc..? So basically if you go over 36 mph on these roads you can get a hefty fine. That’s insane! 40 mph feels like you’re hardly moving on these roads. What a bunch of whiny snowflakes in this city! How about not giving out drivers licenses so easily, even at 15 mph some people cannot drive! There is a far worse problem of people turning corners recklessly and not looking to see if someone is in or about to enter a crosswalk! Ticket those people, heavily!
March 8, 2019, 9:18 am
NakedHiker from Downtown Brooklyn says:
How about letting NYC make its own decisions about speed or red light cameras, instead of begging the state legislature? Home rule!!
March 8, 2019, 10:09 am
Frank from Furter says:
You know that these camera tickets are enforcement. I don't understand why you think the NY police aren't issuing and enforcing moving violations and issuing tickets. In January 2019 the police issued almost 100,000 moving violation tickets.. you can see your precinct enforcement. Atlantic Avenue Union Turnpike(as well as Queens Blvd) were chosen for special enforcement and traffic changes because they frankly were the highways of death with high accident rates and injuries. You know that there is an exponentially increased risk of serious and death for every 5 miles of increased speed. So bringing people under 40 makes a difference. I can show you the studies if you like. and btw NYC's school zone cameras only ticket drivers who exceed the 25-mph zone limit by 10 mph or more. Drivers caught speeding on NYC speed cameras are fined $50, far less than a traditional school zone speeding ticket, which can cost between $300 and $1,200 for a first offense! As you probably know you can get info on where the police are standing on Waze along the location of where speed/red light cameras are. the city has made hitting someone in a cross walk(failure to yield) a more serious crime if there is an injury and the police who used to only investigate traffic fatalities now investigate every serious accident and are making many more arrests. Yes there are a lot of people who can't safely drive out there...and one of them is possible you. I am not a slow driver, the worst ticket I got was 92 in a 65 in OK. It only cost $65 and it was before OK was a member of the interstate compact and didn't report it to NY. The reason why I mention this is besides the fine you get in traffic court, the NYS DV holds a hearing on every speeding ticket for for than 25mph over the limit and suspends most of the drivers too...The fastest I ever drove on a highway was 132mph but that was in Germany..
March 8, 2019, 10:24 am
Frank from Furter says:
that is NYS DMV.. Sen. Marty Golden a retired NY PD, always talked about more enforcement and hiring more cops, knowing full well that he would never actually receive a ticket just show his retired badge and be on his way. Ticket cameras aren't so easily dissuaded. DOT removed the red light camera at Boerum Place(Brooklyn Bridge BLVD) and Atlantic Avenue because it caught too many judges and cops(I was told). The two very worst groups of drivers statistically are cops and doctors for the exact same reason: They don't thing they have to obey the law. Every once and a while the Police department especially among rookies have to remind them that their cars aren't bumper cars and to obey the laws too..because they have so many accidents.
March 8, 2019, 10:32 am
Frank from Furter says:
the 68th precinct issues over 800 moving violations in January.
March 8, 2019, 10:37 am
Frank from Furter says:
and who do you think are driving their cars solo in the HOV lanes? want to guess?
March 8, 2019, 10:42 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
@Frank Figures for moving violations in NYC as a whole are irrelevant. Comparative figures for the 68, 72 and other neighboring precincts are relevant. Over the past 20 or so years you will find that the 68 has lagged far behind in issuing moving violations. That has created the culture of noncompliance that we are dealing with now. In the last 2 years the 68 has been criticized for this. However, NYPD leadership doesn’t really look at this problem like an ordinary citizen would. To the people that live in Bay Ridge, this is a danger to public safety. To NYPD leadership, this is a “lack of productivity.” To guard itself against that, the leadership of the 68 has decided to issue moving violations for speeding on a handful of major arteries; primarily 4th avenue. This does very little to improve public safety (most rational people agree that 4th Avenue is a major street where cars should go fast, and the 25 MPH limit there is ridiculous), but does permit the 68 to show “greater productivity” to NYPD brass by writing some tickets for moving violations. A true dog and pony show, and just as useless. Meanwhile, back in the real world, the 68 continues to ignore cars blowing through stop signs and red lights, banging u turns on crowded streets, and crowding pedestrians in cross walks. If the 68 chose to do so, they could write dozens of tickets a day for the violations discussed above. I guarantee you that if they did so for 6 months, you would see a real change in driver behavior in Bay Ridge. But the 68 Prec will not start comprehensive enforcement of stop sign, red light and cross walk violations. BECAUSE THEY DON’T VIEW IT AS A PROBLEM. The “problem” from the perspective of 68 leadership is “how do we get NYPD headquarters off our back for lack of productivity?” Their solution is to ticket people going 37 MPH on 4th Ave.
March 8, 2019, 11:03 am
frank from furter says:
so lets look at the two precincts you mentioned. 68th for January 821 72 891 I don't now which precints border but you can look it up yourself. 821 is over 25 per day. Normally in a precinct there are 4-5 cars out per ships. so that means that each car is writing at least 1 per ship. The way copstat works is that each precinct once a month gets grilled on what it is doing both on crimes and traffic issues. They are expected to concentrate responses to both on where the action is crimes or accidents. there are have multiple deaths on 4th avenue in traffic accident. I was driving back from Staten Island last night and there was a police car monitoring traffic on third avenue for speeders(multiple deaths on third avenue too..Isn't the speed limit on 3rd 30? Google maps told me the fastest way was third avenue and not the highway. I assure you the PD looks at red light running as a problem. BTW you can attend the precinct council meeting every month and voice your complaint. At most precinct council meetings the precinct commander is present and the PD strongly monitors this public relation aspect of the precinct commanders job. you don't think someone speeding on 4th avenue should be ticketed?
March 8, 2019, 11:40 am
frank from furter says:
per shift
March 8, 2019, 11:41 am
frank from furter says: 68th Precinct January Offense Description MTD 2019 YTD 2019 Backing Unsafely 1 1 Bike Lane 0 0 Bus Lane 0 0 Cell Phone 15 15 Commercial Veh on Pkwy 5 5 Cruising For Passengers 0 0 Disobey Traffic Control Device 198 198 Driving Too Slow 0 0 Equipment 16 16 Equipment (Other) 0 0 Excessive Noise 0 0 Fail to Keep Right 0 0 Fail to yield Right of Way to Pedestrian 98 98 Failure to Signal 17 17 Failure to yield Right of Way to Vehicle 0 0 Following Too Closely 0 0 Improper Passing 7 7 Improper Taxi Pickup 0 0 Improper Turn 60 60 Improper/Missing Plates 0 0 Lamps and Other Equipment on Bicycle 0 0 Motorcycle (Other) 3 3 Not Giving R of W to Veh. 0 0 Obstructed Plate 2 2 One Way Street 3 3 Overheight 0 0 Overlength 0 0 Overweight 0 0 Overwidth 0 0 Pavement Markings 0 0 Red Light 133 133 School Bus 0 0 Scooter In NYC 0 0 Seat Belt 42 42 Speeding 101 101 Spillback 0 0 TBTA Rule 0 0 Tints 23 23 TLC (Other) 0 0 Truck Route 6 6 Uninspected 0 0 Uninsured 19 19 Unlicensed Operator 46 46 Unregistered 1 1 Unsafe Lane Change 0 0 Other Movers 25 25 068TOTAL Movers 821 821 * All figures are preliminary and subject to change. I decided to copy the 68th page. they issued 101 speeds and 133 red lights as well as 198 traffic devices(mostly stop signs in my experience). Yes the pd looks at productivity but targeted to accidents and crimes.
March 8, 2019, 11:46 am
frank from furter says: previous years reports are available here..
March 8, 2019, 11:49 am
frank from furter says:
accident stats are available at I see the 68th had one reported fatal accident this year and none last year.. the copstat2 tracks everything...
March 8, 2019, 11:59 am
frank from furter says:
the 66th precinct issued less tickets than the January 800
March 8, 2019, 12:08 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Realistic almost is onto something up there. 40 mph does "feel like you're hardly moving." That's why it's more important to redesign streets than to set up cameras to punish lawbreakers. I don't want drivers to get speeding tickets. I want drivers to stop killing people.
March 8, 2019, 12:25 pm
frank from furter says: difference between an accident at 30mph and 40 mph.. not NY City had slow zones before boston.
March 8, 2019, 12:53 pm
frank from furter says:
that is note not not sorry
March 8, 2019, 12:54 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
@Frank, my point is that historically the 68 has expended far less enforcement effort than comparable neighborhood precincts. I agree, and discussed in detail, that the 68 has come under pressure in the last 2 years to show greater productivity in moving violations. This is a recent development. If you care, look at comparative numbers over the last 10 years. The 68 has chosen to satisfy the bosses by issuing speeding tickets on major avenues. For reasons already discussed this is only partially helpful, since it doesn’t address the chaos on the other streets, which is the majority of the precinct. Once I see sustained enforcement on red light vans stop sign violations on the secondary avenues, which comprise the majority of the problem, I will believe that the 68 is motivated to fix this problem. The 68 is a low crime area. There is no excuse for this neglect.
March 8, 2019, 1:42 pm
N from Boerum Hill says:
This is a great move. There are way too many reckless drivers on our streets. Thank you Senator Gounardes.
March 8, 2019, 4:03 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I feel that the sole purpose of the speed cameras is mainly for revenue purposes just like congestion pricing. If people stop speeding, then no revenue can be made off of it. Seriously, I'm tired of it always being us motorists being the cash cow that they continue to milk. BTW, studies found that those who had to slow down before approaching such cameras either lead to other accidents or even created traffic in areas that didn't used them have them so constantly. Then again, that's probably how the anti-car fanatics can help promote congestion pricing by creating the very congestion hence the Bloomberg Way. On a side note, hearing about these new cameras popping up does remind me of Big Brother by Geroge Orwell on how the USSR was known for surveillance cameras everywhere to control the activities and nature of the masses.
March 8, 2019, 5:53 pm
Frank from Furter says:
a couple of things, the Soviet Union didn't use TV cameras for surveillance- they relied on informers. They did however monitor private communication. i.e. telephone and mail. When slow zones were established accidents in surrounding areas dropped(the first slow zone in Brooklyn was in Boerum Hill). I would like a link to any study that found that accidents increased because people slowed down to obey the law. There is a severe drop off in revenue on speed cameras after a few months as people 1. get caught 2. Know where they are. Yes they make money on them but state law requires the money be used for safety improvements on the roads. As for them causes more traffic in other areas I would like to see that study too... Thanks
March 9, 2019, 5:22 am
Frank from Furter says:
and here is one that suggest that more cameras is better
March 9, 2019, 5:24 am
frank from furter says: '
March 9, 2019, 5:32 am
Pina109 from Bay Ridge says:
Here’s a suggestion that has worked well for centuries TEACH THE KIDS HOW TO CROSS THE STREETS SAFELY!!! I drive Colonial Road everyday at dismissal It’s like driving thru a war zone These kids have NO respect that Red= Stop Green = Go Yellow = take a chance and outrun the light Many of these kids have a sense of ENTITLEMENT that they own the road and do whatever the want And I drive REAL SLOW as not to ever have to God forbid Ever hit a kid Cameras are a good start But a lesson in crossing the street would definitely help!
March 9, 2019, 8:31 am
Frank from Furter says:
You need to teach the adults too. The fine for Jay walking should be The same as the speed cameras
March 9, 2019, 1:17 pm
Frank from Furter says:
Pedestrian education is available for all ages on the website
March 9, 2019, 4:09 pm
Gerard from Brooklyn says:
The fleecing of the citizen continues in NYC. If these cameras were an actual deterrent, then I’d be all for them. However, the fact that the city doesn’t proovide any warning near school zones proves my point. Two of my good friends just retired and they are moving to South Carolina and Florida to escape the insane tax burden. Good luck Governor Cuomo, you are chasing many many people out of here.
March 10, 2019, 11:48 am
Wilbur D. Horse from Other side of the tracks says:
Michael is right; this is all about the government Spying on us. Sure, they use that tired old excuse, “It’s for your own good,” but that’s a distraction. It’s not so much about the fines raised. It’s about the local, state, and Fed government spying on us and collecting data on us, exactly like Facebook does.
March 11, 2019, 8:27 am

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