Come summer, there will be five times as many speed cameras on the streets of New York City as there are today. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill sponsored by State Sen. Andrew Gounardes to increase the number and reach of the devices in school zones.
“This bill will increase the number from 140 to 750 speed cameras in the city, extend the hours of operation of the speed cameras and will mandate that the city prioritize placement of the cameras by speed and crash data,” Cuomo said during a bill signing ceremony on Staten Island on Sunday — which was also Mother’s Day.
The cameras will be operational from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“It’s common sense. It works and it is the right thing to do,” Cuomo said.
Gounardes, a Democrat who represents Bay Ridge and several other southwestern Brooklyn neighborhoods, called the new law “a major victory in the fight for street safety.”
Assemblymember Deborah Glick, a Democrat representing Greenwich Village, sponsored the bill in the Assembly.
Since speed cameras were first installed in New York as a pilot program in 2013, speeding has been reduced by 63 percent, according to Gounardes. During that same time period, there has been a 14 percent decrease in traffic injuries. Eighty-one percent of drivers who are slapped with speeding tickets don’t get another.
It’s about public safety, not just for students, but for all pedestrians, said Gounardes, a freshman lawmaker.
“No parent, senior, or pedestrian of any age should live in fear of crossing the street because of speeding traffic,” Gounardes said in a statement.
It’s not yet clear how many of the cameras Brooklyn will be getting.
Gounardes paid tribute during the ceremony to the families who have lost loved ones to reckless drivers and who lobbied for the bill’s passage.
“They turned their pain into purpose and got this done. We wouldn’t be here today without them,” he said.
Amy Cohen, a founding member of the group Families for Safe Streets, attended the ceremony and sat next to Cuomo as he signed the legislation into law. The governor’s mother sat on his other side.
“As we know all too well, speeding is a deadly act and has to stop. We have an epidemic, and speed safety cameras are a huge part of the cure,” said Cohen, whose 12-year-old son, Sammy Eckstein, was struck by a car and killed on Prospect Park West in 2013.
Marco Conner, interim executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said the bill signing marked a watershed moment.
“Given the efficiency of the original 140-camera program, which we can say without reservation has saved lives and prevented injuries, we have no doubt that this expansion will lead to a safer walk to school for many more children in all five boroughs,” Conner said.