5:08 pm Mar. 12, 20132
Council Speaker Christine Quinn on Tuesday spoke out in support of installing more speed cameras at New York City intersections, but on the question of more red-light cameras, Quinn's still staying mum.
On Wednesday, Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer of Sunnyside and Stephen Levin of Williamsburg will introduce a resolution calling for more red-light cameras at New York City intersections.
At the 150 intersections where the city is already allowed to use cameras that snap photos of cars running through red lights (enabling the city to ticket them accordingly), serious injuries have dropped 56 percent, according to numbers provided them by the department of transportation.
Van Bramer has been interested in street safety since his next-door neighbor's 11-year-old daughter was killed by a car a number of years ago.
"The only thing that I think about are all of the moms and the dads and the people in my neighborhood who, among the things that they fear the most, is that their kid is going to get hit by a car," he said.
Traffic deaths in New York City appear to be rising, with the recent death of a young married couple on their way to the hospital to give birth putting the issue of street safety into particularly stark relief, and apparently creating some legislative momentum.
On Tuesday, Quinn joined two transportation advocacy groups in calling on Albany to allow the city to install up to 40 speed cameras at city intersections. (Those, as the name indicates, record violations of the speed limit, not red-light infractions.)
"Speeding is the number one cause of fatal crashes in New York City and we must do everything we can to prevent future fatalities," said Quinn, in a statement.
Also this week, following pressure from the City Council, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly sent a letter to the transportation committee announcing that the NYPD would now alert its team of specially trained accident-scene investigators to collisions in which victims were critically injured, not merely those in which victims were killed or considered likely to die.
He also said he would also increase the number of investigators now assigned to the unit, which currently numbers 19.
Like Van Bramer and Levin, the city would like some more red-light cameras too, but the issue remains politically touchy.
Three drivers, backed by the AAA, have sued the city over its use of red-light cameras, arguing that the yellow lights at those intersections are too short and are a revenue-generating mechanism.
In contrast to her support for speed cameras, Quinn, who will need outer-borough votes in her run for mayor, has yet to voice support for the red-light camera resolution.
Her spokesman told me on Tuesday that she will review the resolution once it's introduced on Wednesday.
For his part, Van Bramer said, "I am not the least bit interested in revenue."
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