Led by Senator Gounardes, Senate Majority Passes Critical Speed Camera Legislation in New York Senate

Led by State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assembly Member Deborah Glick, legislation dramatically expands critical program to increase pedestrian safety

Albany, NY; March 19, 2019 – The New York State Legislature passed legislation introduced by State Senator Andrew Gounardes (22-SD) and Assembly Member Deborah Glick (66-AD) to substantially y expand New York City’s school zone speed camera program. Today’s passage is significant because the program expired last year after the state senate failed to approve a measure to renew the program. Since the program’s inception in 2013, cameras have reduced speeding during school hours at fixed camera locations by more than 63% and led to a drop in traffic injuries by 14%.  Likewise, 81% of drivers who receive tickets don’t receive another.

Gounardes said, “No parent, senior, or pedestrian of any age should live in fear of crossing the street because of speeding traffic. This program slows traffic and saves lives. Plain and simple. The numbers are indisputable and speak for themselves: 63% reduction in speeding traffic and 14% in traffic injuries. We know that speed is determinant of the severity of an injury received in a crash. I’ll never apologize for prioritizing the safety of millions of pedestrians over the issuance of tickets to reckless drivers.”

"We have been fighting for years to protect more New Yorkers from reckless drivers, so we're pleased to finally see this new state legislature approve a dramatic expansion of the life-saving speed safety camera program. As we know all too well, speeding is a deadly act and has to stop. We have an epidemic and speed safety cameras are a huge part of the cure. We're grateful to Senator Goundardes and Assembly Member Glick for taking up this cause and being champions for safer streets," said Amy Cohen, founding member of Families for Safe Streets. 

“After years of making the case for covering more school zones with this life-saving technology, we're proud to stand with Assembly Member Glick and State Senator Gounardes, who have been unwavering in their support for safer streets on behalf of all New Yorkers. Given the efficacy of the original 140-camera program, which we can say without reservation has saved lives and prevented injuries on our streets, we have no doubt that this expansion will lead to a safer walk to school for many more children in the five boroughs," said Marco Conner, interim director of Transportation Alternatives. "This is a watershed moment for New York City that will lead to safer streets and neighborhoods during what is now the most dangerous times of day. We look forward to standing with Governor Cuomo to see this truly historic legislation signed into law."

The statistics are clear: Reducing speeds saves lives," New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta said. "This legislation will help promote a safer school environment for children, educators and all community members.

"Our students, our staff, our school neighborhoods will be safer because of this legislation. This is an example of what government can do when all the stakeholders - educators, parents, advocates, public officials - come together," said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers

The bill expands and updates the speed camera program by:

  • Increasing the number of authorized school zones where cameras may be placed from 140 to 750
  • Expanding hours of operation from 6am-10pm, Monday through Friday. 49% of all pedestrian fatalities or serious injuries (KSI) occur in this time frame. Under the past program, cameras were only operational from one hour before to one hour after school, covering only 14% of pedestrian KSI
  • Changing the definition of a school zone from any street adjacent to a school building, entrance, or exit to 1/4 mile radial distance
  • Requires signs to be installed notifying motorists of speeding photo enforcement
  • Expanding the City’s annual reporting requirements on the program to include effectiveness and adequacy of hours of operation as well as total expenditures spent on street safety and pedestrian improvements.

Gounardes, whose district in southern Brooklyn has been plagued by ongoing safety issues, recently created the Southern Brooklyn Pedestrian Safety Task Force and has advocated tirelessly to bring measurable changes to notoriously dangerous community streets. Renewing and expanding the school zone speed camera program played a major role in Gounardes’ campaign last year and is a top legislative priority for the first-term senator.