By Amy Cohen, Councilmember Mark Treyger & Councilmember Justin Brannan
Last week, parents across New York City could breathe a sigh of relief. With just nine days to go before kids returned for their first day of school, the governor, mayor and City Council came together and took matters into their own hands to turn on (and expand) the speed safety camera program near our schools.
They did this with an executive order and new laws at the City Council level. This unprecedented action was necessary because the state Senate, including our local Senator, Marty Golden, left Albany in June without passing common-sense speed camera legislation.
Had the Republicans gotten their way, 1.1 million of our kids would be facing unnecessary danger as they walk to and from class.
Thankfully, the governor, mayor, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the rest of the council worked with activists and advocates to do what elected officials are supposed to do: protect New Yorkers, particularly the most vulnerable among us.
It’s much more than a shame that Senate Republicans couldn’t be bothered, it’s an absolute disgrace.
Together, we, two councilmembers, and a mother who lost her child to traffic violence, were and are on the frontlines of this fight. However, despite the immense relief we feel with the program back up and running, we know the battle for children’s safety isn’t fully over.
The Senate still has a job to do, and Senator Golden has a particular responsibility to ensure the Senate passes the legislation that is sitting in front of it.
The senator’s failure (or refusal) to date is a permanent stain on his legacy, and there can be no full redemption at this stage. Still, he owes it to New York City kids, even belatedly, to do the right thing. There is some virtue in a mitigating the damage he’s already caused.
Additionally, and it’s shocking we need to write this, he needs to show that he actually understands why this fight is important to so many New Yorkers. He needs to demonstrate this by stopping his own reckless driving in the neighborhood.
Murad Awawdeh recently took to social media to let the community know that Senator Golden almost hit one of his family members. This is (at least) the third time in the last few months that the senator was publicly identified endangering our neighbors with his driving.
Add this onto his already long record of reckless driving and we start to get a sense of the scope of the problem.
The message to Senator Golden and his colleagues is clear: go back to Albany and pass the speed camera bill — and when you’re in the nabe, drive like kids live here, because they do.
Amy Cohen is a founding member of Families for Safe Streets. Councilmember Mark Treyger represents the 47th Council District. Councilmember Justin Brannan represents the 43rd Council District.