Press Release #19-036
Friday, June 28, 2019
Contact: Scott Gastel/Lolita Avila (212) 839-4850
Vision Zero: DOT and Assembly Member Glick Oversee Installation of New Speed Camera as Dramatic Expansion Takes Effect Next Month
On July 11th, the reach and impact of speed cameras will double, as hours and days of operation expand; DOT is installing hundreds of new cameras at an unprecedented pace, including along West Street, site of a notorious and fatal December speeding crash
TRIBECA -- New York City Department Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was today joined by speed camera legislation co-sponsor Assembly Member Deborah Glick to oversee installation of a new school zone speed camera. In less than two weeks, under a new state law, New York City’s speed camera program will expand dramatically -- doubling in reach and impact. The speed camera installed today is along West Street in Glick’s Lower Manhattan district location, an area known for speeding; in fact, last December, a driver recklessly traveled at a high speed along West Street, killing another driver. Despite being near two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school, this location had not qualified for a speed camera under the previous law.
“After a historic state legislative session, we must remain grateful to the leadership of the Mayor, the Governor and the legislators like Assembly Member Glick and Senator Gounardes,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Their hard work has allowed us to be able to deploy life-saving speed cameras at critical spots like this one. On July 11th, we will double the impact of cameras and then install new cameras at an unprecedented rate. We are hopeful that we can continue to make progress on Vision Zero, where we have seen fatalities decline in New York City for five years running.”
"Speeding is a leading cause of traffic fatalities. The expansion of the speed camera program will show speeding drivers that this dangerous disregard of the law will not be tolerated, “said NYPD Transportation Bureau Chief Thomas Chan. “I congratulate the Mayor, Governor and the legislators responsible for bringing about this expansion. Their continued efforts, along with those of all of our Vision Zero partners, will help decrease speeding, and increase the safety of all who use our city streets.”
“After years of working and advocating, I am beyond pleased to see the life-saving school speed camera program expanded to protect more children across New York City,” said Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick. “With substantially more school zones covered with longer operation hours, the streets around our schools will become much safer. I am thankful for my partnership with Senator Gounardes, Commissioner Trottenberg, and Families for Safe Streets, and look forward to working with them to continue to improve traffic and pedestrian safety.”
“Today, because of the school zone speed camera expansion, we will install a camera on a block where someone lost their life in a high-speed crash,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “Soon, all across the city, collisions and fatalities will decrease as we install hundreds more cameras in school zones. No family should ever lose a member to a preventable collision, and today we are taking concrete action to prevent that.”
In May, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that over the next two years, DOT would rapidly scale up its speed-camera program, installing new cameras Citywide at a rate of about 40 per month through 2019, and 60 per month in 2020, expecting to reach each of the law’s maximum 750 school zones by June, 2020 (zones can have multiple cameras).
A Stronger Speed Camera Law: Authorized by state law, school-zone speed cameras have been in operation in New York City since 2014, with data showing that speeding in zones with a camera declines by more than 60 percent, with over 80 percent of violators not receiving a second ticket. The new speed-camera law, sponsored by Assembly Member Glick and State Senator Gounardes, was passed by the state legislature in March and was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on May 12th. The new law takes effect on Thursday, July 11th, expanding the maximum number of school zones from 140 to 750. The new law now sunsets in June of 2022 and requires annual progress reports to the legislature. Other major changes to the law include:
- Doubling Speed Camera Hours: Speed cameras will now operate year-round on all weekdays between 6am until 10pm, including summer and school vacations. Previously, cameras’ hours were variable, and they could only operate during a given school’s active hours. DOT estimates that the law’s expansion will on its first day double the overall number of hours when speed cameras can issue summonses.
- Extending Camera Zones: Cameras’ maximum distance from schools was expanded to a ¼ mile radius from a school, rather than the previous restriction that the camera be no more than a ¼ mile of a school along an abutting street. This change to the law allows cameras to be installed near hundreds more schools, including today along West Street. In coming months, new cameras will be installed on other high-crash corridors across the five boroughs, including along 1st Avenue in Manhattan, Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island, Northern Boulevard in Queens and the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.
Fines for speed-camera violations remain unchanged at $50, issued to those who exceed posted speed limits by more than 10 MPH. The notices of liability are issued by DOT via mail to the owner of the vehicle – and are adjudicated at the New York City Department of Finance.
West Street -- A Notorious Location: Speeding remains the leading cause of fatal crashes in NYC. Speeding drivers are often unable to brake in time to avoid crashes, and the speed of the driver in any given crash increases its severity. The location of today’s event, along West Street between the Holland and Hugh Carey Tunnels, is a corridor known for speeding. On December 28, 2018 a Maryland driver set off a high-speed fatal crash as he travelled along West Street at a speed reportedly exceeding 100 MPH. Several amateur videos captured the aftermath of the resulting fiery crash, in which the driver struck another vehicle and killed its driver.
The new speed camera is located within a quarter-mile of two elementary schools (PS 234 and PS 89), one middle school (IS 289) and Stuyvesant High School. The speed limit along West Street is 35 MPH, which means that after July 11th, drivers will receive notices of liability for traveling at speeds of 46 MPH or higher.
Public Education Campaign: Mayor de Blasio also announced last month that a public education campaign would alert New York City drivers of these major changes to the law. On June 11th, DOT launched LinkNYC displays, ferry ads, billboards, and drive time radio announcements airing during traffic reports. Digital ads, newspaper notices, and bulk mailings began this week. DOT will also post banners at municipal parking facilities. As it prepared for the rollout of the new speed camera law, DOT began a 30-day social media campaign and distributed an electronic communications kit with flyers, postcards, and other shareable content to help build awareness.
“Speed cameras have proven themselves to increase safety and save lives since the speed camera program began in 2014,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I applaud the state legislature for acting on this life or death issue. Thanks to the advocacy of Families for Safe Streets and the hard-work of our fellow state elected officials, New Yorkers will be safer when they walk on our streets.”
"New York has made great progress in making our streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers, including the momentous push in Albany to expand our speed camera program and the citywide effort to get drivers to slow down and help save lives,” said Senator Brian Kavanagh. “West Street is a corridor notorious for speeding, but with the implementation of these life-saving speed cameras, it's about to become a whole lot safer. I thank Assemblymember Glick and Senator Gounardes for authoring the expansion legislation and Commissioner Trottenberg for implementing it promptly, right here in our community, and for all she and her colleagues at DOT and NYPD do every day to ensure the safety of New Yorkers, especially our children.”
“We need to make sure our roads are safe for all New Yorkers, especially for those that are the most vulnerable,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Transportation Committee. “I thank all the work that DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and the State legislature has done to ensure that our children are kept out of harms way with this massive increase in speed cameras around schools. I will continue to work alongside Speaker Corey Johnson, my colleagues, and advocates to ensure we continue to bring road security to all of New York City.”
“The speed cameras that were installed around many of New York’s schools several years ago have reduced traffic deaths dramatically,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “The expansion of these speed cameras to 750 school zones—including along West Street the site of a deadly traffic incident last December—makes our city’s program one of the most robust in the nation. I am proud to join Department of Transportation Commissioner Trottenberg, my fellow elected officials, Principal Zeynep Ozkan and activists in creating safer streets for every New Yorker—especially our children and families.”
About Vision Zero: In 2014, New York City became the first City in the United States to implement Vision Zero. Through a combination of enforcement, education and engineering, New York City made dramatic changes that have helped drive down fatalities for five consecutive years, bucking national trends. To maintain progress, since the beginning of 2019, New York City has released a Vision Zero Year 5 Report, as well as a major update to its Pedestrian Safety Action Plans.
For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see www.nyc.gov/visionzero.