Gov. Cuomo expands school zone speed camera program

Gov. Cuomo expands school zone speed camera program

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Sunday that would add 610 cameras, and require warning signage for motorists.

Members of Families for Safe Streets hold photographs of loved ones who were hit by vehicles, shorty before Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation into law that reinstates the speed camera program in New York City and expands the number of authorized school speed zones.
Members of Families for Safe Streets hold photographs of loved ones who were hit by vehicles, shorty before Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation into law that reinstates the speed camera program in New York City and expands the number of authorized school speed zones. Photo Credit: Todd Maisel

Hundreds more school zone speed cameras are coming to New York City to help protect streets near schools.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Sunday that extended and expanded the city’s school safety camera program from 140 locations to 750. The program was temporarily halted last summer after the State Senate failed to renew it — however, the Democratic-controlled Legislature made the cameras a top priority this legislative session.

Cuomo said the cameras have proved effective, as fatalities in school zones that have deployed the cameras have dropped 55% since the program began in 2014.

"It’s fair to the motorists. It’s fair to everyone involved. It’s common sense," he said at a news conference at his Manhattan office on Sunday.

Gov. Cuomo's mother Matilda, right, joined him for the signing in Manhattan on Sunday.
Gov. Cuomo’s mother Matilda, right, joined him for the signing in Manhattan on Sunday. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Under the expansion, the cameras will be activated weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., and any motorist caught going 10 miles-per-hour over the speed limit will receive a $50 summons. Cuomo said the city will prioritize the new camera locations based on DOT data on the most crash-prone zones.

The bill also mandates posted signage that alerts drivers they are entering a school zone camera location. 

"We know they work," Cuomo said of the cameras. "A person who gets hit by a vehicle going 30 miles per hour is twice as likely to die as a person hit by a car going 25 miles per hour."

The bill was championed by families and several elected officials, including State Sen. Andrew Gounardes who sponsored the legislation.

"No parent, senior, or pedestrian of any age should live in fear of crossing the street because of speeding traffic. Signing this bill into law today will slow traffic and saves lives," he said in a statement.

After the senate failed to extend the camera program last summer, Cuomo issued an executive order and Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson fast-tracked a law that turned the cameras on just before the start of the school year. The mayor on Sunday thanked Cuomo and the State Legislature for bolstering the law. 

"Speed cameras are keeping our kids safe and saving lives. We needed to protect more kids at more schools, and now we have the power to do it," he said in a statement.

Ivan Pereira