Rally for safer streets says pump the BRAKES and bring the cameras

In a rally outside State Senator Marty Golden’s office on the afternoon of April 5, concerned citizens and residents of Bay Ridge turned out to protest Golden’s opposition to a bill that would have funded the implementation of citywide speed cameras.

Since two fatal incidents involving speeding and pedestrians have already occurred this year in Bay Ridge, troubled citizens and members of B.R.A.K.E.S, Bay Ridge Advocates For Keeping Everyone Safe, decided to take a stand.

With signs reading: “Senator Golden, stop the roadkill” and a strong-willed, synchronized chant of “Hey hey, ho ho, cameras are the way to go!” the crowd was high in energy and determined to make a change.

“We are all just concerned residents,” said attendee and former State Senate candidate, Andrew Gounardes, who ran against Golden last year. “Senator Golden hasn’t given us any good reason why we shouldn’t have speed cameras.”

“We need to keep our community, especially children and seniors, safe,” added Ridgeite Victor Guarino.

The group isn’t alone in its support of speed cameras. The City Council, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, Transportation Alternatives and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign all back the legislation, but the bill was never voted on in Albany, with Golden and another Brooklyn State Senator, Simcha Felder saying they would not vote for it. The Senate’s inaction on it kept the cameras from being included in the Assembly budget, despite support for them from Speaker Sheldon Silver.

In response to the rally, Golden released a statement. Like the parents here today, I share with them the concern for the safety of our children,” he said. “Other locations across the United States have found speed camera technology unreliable. If we can prove that the technology is sound, and document unequivocally that it will reduce speeding and fatalities, that would provide reason to consider the possibility of speed camera legislation.”

What does Golden recommend? Golden said he is in favor of instituting school safety zones and the addition of various speed controlling devices such as traffic lights, speed humps and stop signs.

He also said he would like to see a decrease in the permitted speed in the vicinity of schools from 30 to 20 mph, and noted, “In the coming days I will be introducing legislation to create these speed zones throughout New York City school zones to reduce speeding near our educational institutions. It is clear, however, that the most effective way to reduce speeding and speeding-related fatalities is increased police and prosecution of reckless driving.

The stalled state legislation called for 20 to 40 stationary or mobile speed cameras to be installed citywide. The cameras would work much like the red-light cameras already in place; they would not photograph the driver or share the license plate number of the car.

Default penalties for speeding would be set at $25 with a maximum penalty of $50 for speeding between 10 and 30 miles above the speed limit and $100 for speeding over 30 miles above the speed limit.

–Additional reporting contributed by Denise Romano

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