Queens Daily Eagle
With school speed cameras set to disappear Wednesday, Queens lawmakers have kept their foot on the gas in demanding the extension and expansion of the public safety program.
On Sunday, both Council Member Francisco Moya and Assembly Member Ari Espinal called on the New York State Senate to reconvene and pass a bill introduced by State Sen. Jose Peralta that would more than double the number of cameras in school zones.
“Allowing the speed camera program to expire is indefensible and needlessly endangers the lives of innocent children,” Moya said. “If a child is injured because this program was allowed to expire on Wednesday, it will not be an ‘accident.’ It will be the direct result of a negligent and malfeasant Republican-controlled Senate.”
Along Northern Boulevard in Queens, where several tragic collisions have killed school children, speed cameras have cut in half the number of crashes that resulted in injuries, according city data.
Speeding violations are down 66 percent in Queens’ school zones and across the city, speeding during school hours decreases by more than 63 percent where fixed cameras are present, the city says. In addition, fatal and severe motor vehicle collisions are down 21 percent in such areas.
“Children’s lives are at stake,” Assemblywoman Ari Espinal said. “In the State Assembly, we did our job to protect New York’s kids. It’s time Senator John Flanagan stopped playing politics and called his colleagues back to extend and expand the speed camera program.”
The two lawmakers have urged State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Smithtown) to call a special session of the Senate to enact an expansion of New York City’s speed camera program. Pedestrian safety advocates have visited Flanagan’s home to urge him to convene the special session while others have camped outside the office of State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn) to draw attention to the issue.
Peralta, who introduced the bill, has remained a fierce proponent of increasing speed cameras.
“In just five days, school zone speed cameras will be turned off. Republicans decided to play politics with children’s lives, and a program that saved countless of lives will expire,” Peralta told the Eagle Friday. “We cannot play politics with schoolchildren and New Yorker’s lives, and this is why we must ensure we renew and expand the program. If the Republicans let this initiative expire, kids in summer school will travel to and from school on more dangerous streets. The same will occur when more than one million school children return to school after the summer vacation.”