New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, DOT Deputy Commissioner for Traffic Operations Steve Galgano, NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan, and State Assembly Member Deborah Glick, today announced the City has reached its goal of installing speed cameras at 140 locations, the maximum number authorized by the state by the beginning of the school year. Starting on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, there will be 100 fixed camera locations and 40 mobile speed cameras that will be activated in time for the over one million school children heading back to school.
“Speed cameras are working to deter speeding drivers and as students head back to school, all 140 school zone locations for speed cameras will be activated,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “DOT took a careful and comprehensive approach siting and installing speed cameras throughout the five boroughs.”
“The NYPD will be giving special attention along with other city agencies for our children returning to school,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan. “Our officers will be focusing on speeding and distracted drivers. Please drive carefully.”
Speeding is a leading cause of fatal crashes; nearly one in three people killed in New York City traffic is killed by a speeding driver. Deterring speeding on New York City streets is a major goal of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero. Speed cameras are an effective deterrent to speeding and a critical component Vision Zero Initiative. Since the inception of the program and as installation rolled out over the past 20 months, the City has issued over 945,000 speed camera violations, with over 500,000 so far in 2015.
DOT fully installed cameras at the first 20 intersections by the start of school last year and redoubled these efforts over the past 12 months to reach the full complement allowed before the 2015-2016 school year began. As DOT implemented more speed camera locations, daily violations have dropped by an average of 60 percent. In September 2014, there was an average of 192 violations issued per camera, per day. By August 2015, the average daily violations issued by each camera is 69, demonstrating that the program is working to deter speeding motorists.
The announcement was made outside Grace Church School in Manhattan, which is located in a Priority area as identified in the DOT’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan for Manhattan. To site speed camera locations, DOT looked at schools that may have a significant crash history for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists during school hours. Additionally, that data was correlated to see if there is a known speeding issue or whether it is identified as a Priority intersection, corridor, or area.
Any school could potentially receive fixed or mobile speed camera enforcement, with the qualification being that the cameras is placed within a quarter mile of a corridor passing a school building, entrance or exit of a school on the corridor. Cameras are active only on school days during school hours, one hour before and one hour after the school day, as well as during student activities at the school, and 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after school activities.
As part of the citywide speed limit change to 25 mph, the DOT also began installing speed limit signs that include “Photo Enforced,” as an additional reminder to motorists that speed cameras are active. Since last year, over 4,000 signs with “Photo Enforced” language have been installed.
“I have supported both red light cameras and speed cameras as a way to modify driver behavior. We live in a very congested city and we must take steps to make it safe for everyone,” said Assembly Member Deborah Glick. “I applaud Mayor De Blasio’s commitment to a safer city and see this as an important part of his Vision Zero.”
“Speeding cars pose a danger to our school children and I’m proud that I sponsored legislation to deliver 120 speed cameras to New York City as part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero initiative. These speed cameras will deter motorists from treating school corridors like raceways. I applaud DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg for not only ensuring that these speed cameras hit the streets, but for rolling out the complete program ahead of schedule. This will save lives,” said State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester).
“As a parent, with school year starting tomorrow I’m grateful to Commissioner Trottenberg and the de Blasio Administration for rolling out the speed camera program ahead of schedule and making our streets safer around schools,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “As a State Senator, this is something my constituents are demanding, so I’m pleased to have supported the City’s request for more speed cameras and look forward to working with them on future Vision Zero traffic safety initiatives.”
“DOT Commissioner Trottenberg is sending the right signal by deploying the maximum number of speed cameras the state currently allows to operate in New York City,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “Automated enforcement is a critical Vision Zero tool to deter speeding, which kills more New Yorkers than drunk driving and texting at the wheel combined. The City needs more of these lifesaving devices, and the ability to deploy them more extensively.”
“Speed kills. My son Sammy would still be alive today if the driver had been going slower,” said Amy Cohen of Families for Safe Streets. “Speed cameras are a critical lifesaving tool.”
The path to the complete installation of the speed camera program was paved by a significant legislative victory by the de Blasio administration in 2014, which resulted in the expansion of the program from 20 to 140 locations. A significant level of support from elected officials, leadership in Albany, advocates and parents was demonstrated during efforts to obtain the 140 locations.