standard Traffic Enforcement Cameras Coming to Over 100 Schools

The announcement was made outside P.S. 95, located at the intersection of Sedgwick and Hillman Avenue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx (Mayor's Press Office)

The announcement was made outside P.S. 95, located at the intersection of Sedgwick and Hillman Avenue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx (Mayor’s Press Office)

The installation of speed cameras near schools will expand city-wide as part of the “vision zero” plan to combat traffic-related fatalities and injuries, Mayor de Blasio announced in a press conference Tuesday morning. Cameras authorized by the state will be installed at 120 new locations, while 20 existing cameras have already been enforcing speed limits near schools with summer activities.

“Our kids are going to be safer walking to school and coming home because of this new enforcement,” said the Mayor. “We are sending a powerful message that we take safety near our schools seriously, and we will enforce the law to keep children safe.”

Combating speeding on New York City streets is a major goal of Vision Zero. Speeding drivers kill more New Yorkers than drunk drivers and drivers distracted by cell phones combined. Nearly one in three people killed in New York City traffic is killed by a speeding driver.

The announcement was made outside P.S. 95, located at the intersection of Sedgwick and Hillman Avenue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, an area classified by DOT as a high-crash corridor. The Mayor was joined by New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, and New York State Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein.

“The facts are clear—when drivers think they may get caught speeding, they slow down—and we know that even five miles an hour can make a difference in saving a life,” said Senate Co-Leader Jeffrey D. Klein. “By installing dozens more speed cameras in traffic hotspots throughout the city, and most importantly, near schools, we send a strong message to reckless drivers and ensure that our students and families stay safe heading into this new school year.”

In preparation for the school year beginning this Thursday, September 4, DOT has been installing the first speed cameras authorized by the state law passed this spring and will continue on a rolling basis, until the 140 total school speed zones permitted by law are reached. DOT began camera enforcement in January 16, 2014 and has since built the program up to 20 operational cameras for the year, thus far issuing nearly 183,000 violations citywide.

“The additional 120 intersections we can equip with speed cameras gives students an advantage when school returns Thursday,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

DOT deployed cameras during the summer months near schools with summer activities, but with the school year about to begin, any school meeting the requirements of the law could potentially receive fixed or mobile speed camera enforcement. DOT is permitted to place cameras within a quarter mile of a corridor passing a school building, entrance or exit of a school on the corridor. The cameras are only active on school days during school hours, one hour before and one hour after the school day, as well as during student activities at the school, and 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after school activities.

In addition to the elected officials, a range of advocacy groups pushed for the measure and hailed its implementation.

“Deaths in traffic in New York are preventable and ludicrous. No one should know the pain I know from losing a sister,” said Greg Thompson Jr., a founding member of Families for Safe Streets. “We need more speed cameras, we need consistent and predictable enforcement, and we need continued leadership by our elected officials to achieve our collective goal of Vision Zero.”

“With children across the city returning to schools, we remind drivers to protect the most vulnerable people on our streets by maintaining a safe speed,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives.

The de Blasio administration also achieved a previous legislative victory in Albany related to Vision Zero with the reduction of the city’s default citywide speed limit to 25 miles per hour.