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Speed-Enforcement Cameras Gain East Side Support

By Mary Johnson | January 11, 2012 9:31pm
The speed limit throughout New York City is 30 miles per hour. Transportation advocates are pushing to install cameras throughout the city to police those who exceed that speed.
The speed limit throughout New York City is 30 miles per hour. Transportation advocates are pushing to install cameras throughout the city to police those who exceed that speed.
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Flickr/iammeltron

MANHATTAN — A push to install speed-enforcement cameras across New York City that photograph vehicles and ticket speeders gained traction with East Side residents Tuesday night.

A representative from Transportation Alternatives attended Community Board 6's transportation committee Tuesday night, outlining a proposed five-year pilot program that would install up to 40 cameras at intersections throughout the city. 

The program, which was introduced as a bill in the state Legislature last year, has slowly gained support from roughly 20 community boards around the city, said Lindsey Ganson, safety campaign director at Transportation Alternatives. Board 6's committee ultimately voted to support the proposal Tuesday night. 

The NYPD and the Department of Transportation both support it, as do several statewide health and transportation organizations, she noted.

Now, all that remains before the program can take effect is the passage of bill A7737 this year, Ganson said.

The program being floated is different from the mobile speed boards that have gone up at intersections around the city, Ganson said.

Those boards — which have garnered media attention for displaying an image of a skeleton to discourage speeding — do not incorporate any enforcement measures.

The proposed cameras, however, would photograph vehicles and ticket speeders in much the same way that the city’s 150 red-light cameras do, Ganson explained.

The standard speed limit across the city is 30 miles per hour.

It has yet to be determined which intersections on the city's 6,000 miles of roads would receive cameras, with the Department of Transportation having the final say. But Ganson noted that community boards are encouraged to submit problem areas for consideration.

The support from the Community Board 6 committee was not unanimous, and several members raised concerns about the accuracy of the camera technology and the potential ticketing of those who drive just a few miles over the speed limit.

But the Transportation Alternatives rep said the cameras are as effective as a police officer’s radar gun, and that there is a grace period for drivers who exceed the speed limit only slightly.

With the community largely behind the plan, Ganson said the last hurdle is to get the corresponding bill passed in 2012.

“We have a coalition ready… to push this legislation forward,” Ganson said. “This is a year for this life-saving and injury-preventing technology to come to New York City.”