Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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City Installs School Zone Speed Cameras To Slow Drivers Down

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In an effort to reduce traffic fatalities and curb speeding, the city is installing speed cameras in areas where Mayor Michael Bloomberg says they can do the most good. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

Lay off the gas, or get set to pay.

In time for the first day of public school on September 9, the city is installing cameras near 20 schools to catch speeders in the act if they are 10 miles over the limit.

"There is a reason New York City's speed limit is 30 miles an hour," said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "Going even 10 miles over the speed limit is the difference between life and death."

The cameras are being put in place as part of a five-year pilot program to slow drivers along crash-prone stretches of road.

They'll be moved around on a rotating basis, set up near schools like the W.E.B. Dubois School, where Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement on Monday.

A first speeding violation would result in a warning being sent to the owner of the car.

The cameras snap license plates, not drivers.

A second violation would lead to a $50 fine.

"Speeding remains the single biggest contributor to fatal traffic accidents in the five boroughs, and speed cameras will be another important tool in our campaign to combat speeding," said the mayor.

The city says pedestrian fatalities have dropped 20 percent since 2002, with red light cameras and other safety measures cutting into the number of deaths.

The city isn't saying where it is going to post the 20 speeding cameras, or how often it's going to move them, but NY1 spoke with drivers on Eastern Parkway, who said it would be a good spot to catch lead-footed drivers.

"The speed limit is 25 or 30, they go 45 or 50," said one driver.

"I think it's a good idea, yes, to keep students safe and the teachers safe? Yes, because I also teach," another driver said.

The measure also has the backing of advocates for cyclists and pedestrians.

"A hundred and twenty other municipalities around the country have used speed cameras, and they've seen that their rates of injury and death drop precipitously," said Juan Martinez from Transportation Alternatives. "We need the same technology in New York, and finally we have it."

As of September 9th, that is.

If the cameras are successful, Mayor Bloomberg says more cameras targeting speeders could be on the way.

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