Pleading in Albany for speed-limit cameras in New York City

City street. (Azi Paybarah)
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There are 150 red-light cameras in operation in the city, and there are also cameras that capture images of cars illegally using bus lanes. There are no cameras that catch cars that are speeding.

Assemblywoman Deborah Glick hopes to change that. She has introduced legislation that would allow New York City to install up to 40 “speed limit photo devices” on city streets to crack down on dangerous drivers. The legislation, called The Neighborhood Speeds on Neighborhood Streets Act, was introduced by Glick early this year, now has 22 sponsors, and will be the subject of a Transportation Alternatives lobbying trip to Albany next week.

Michael Murphy, a spokesman for the cycling advocacy group, said the Bloomberg administation is on board, and the search is on for a sponsor in the Republican-controlled State Senate.

The legislation in question would allow New York City to install up to 40 “speed limit photo devices” on city streets to help enforce limits and, it is hoped, reduce the number of traffic fatalities. Much as red-light cameras are triggered by red-light breakers, the cameras would capture images of cars that break the speed limit, and the city would then use the images to issue tickets. Also like red light cameras, the city needs state approval to install them.

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This is not the first time the issue has come before legislature. Last year, Glick and State Senator Tom Duane introduced the same legislation, but it went nowhere.

Murphy contends the bill has a better shot this time around, in part because the issue of dangerous drivers and pedestrian deaths has been getting media attention. The Council held a packed hearing on the matter in February.
Jonathan Lentz reported last year that, "In New York City, 63 traffic deaths in 2009 were attributed to cars travelling at unsafe speeds, according to the State Department of Motor Vehicles, more than any other factor that year."

"I think the overall severity of the issue has become a lot clearer for a lot of people," Murphy said.