Legislature expands school speed cameras

Speed cameras looking down on the action.
Speed cameras looking down on the action.
Shutterstock
Speed cameras looking down on the action.

Legislature expands school speed cameras

As many as 2,250 cameras are expected to be placed in 750 school zones.
March 20, 2019

It’s a simple enough proposition: install cameras to monitor and enforce speed limits in school zones. Speed cameras hardly represent new technology, and their overall effectiveness at decreasing speeding in school zones has been demonstrated across the state and country, including in Queens. But until Democrats took control of the state Senate this year, the topic of speed cameras in school zones had been a fraught one.

Last year, the Republican-led state Senate declined to expand a four-year-old program for speed cameras in school zones ahead of the 2018 school year, leading to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s declaration of a State of Emergency concerning students’ safety. The controversy surrounding the program had to do with reporting requirements for the cameras. Some Republicans said that the data wasn’t being adequately reported, leading to difficulty in determining the effectiveness of the program. Some in the state Senate at the time also favored an expanded police presence in school zones as a more effective form of enforcement than cameras.

Those concerns fell by the wayside on Tuesday, as the state Legislature passed the massive expansion of the program, with measures to expand the number of cameras from 160 to as many as 2,250 in 750 school zones and to extend the hours of operation to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. “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,’” said state Sen. Andrew Gounardes, who sponsored the legislation. “This is a proven solution to the problem of speeding, especially in school zones.”

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Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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