About 30 students set out Thursday to school Gov. Andrew Cuomo on street smarts.
The young protesters, many of whom have had friends or relatives die in traffic incidents, gathered outside Cuomo’s Third Avenue office and urged him to continue allowing speed cameras near campuses as a deterrent to reckless driving.
During the rally, Cuomo staffers said the governor supports legislation that would keep 140 speed cameras running near schools until July 1, 2022, and allow the city to install 150 additional cameras. The equipment has been used to ticket drivers going at least 10 mph above the speed limit during school hours.
An Assembly spokeswoman said the chamber’s majority supports legislation that would continue the camera program, which is scheduled to expire at the end of June.
But a state Senate spokesman did not immediately comment on whether the GOP-controlled chamber backed that bill or a second measure, introduced by state Sen. Simcha Felder, that would authorize speed cameras — along with other more controversial school safety measures.
Alison Collard de Beaufort, a Brooklyn Tech senior who led the rally, said she wanted to educate young New Yorkers about ways to keep pedestrians safe. Cameras near schools have reduced speeding by an average of 63 percent and pedestrian injuries by 23 percent, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration.
“I wanted to get middle and high school students involved in street safety because I had trouble finding ways to get involved,” said Collard de Beaufort, who founded the Vision Zero Youth Program in 2014, after she said three of her classmates were killed by reckless drivers in one year.
Working with the advocacy groups Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets, Collard de Beaufort and other organizers handed out pins that read “C.U.R.B Speeding” — short for Children United to Rein in Breakneck Speeding.
Many students said they came out after a classmate, Giovanni Ampuero, 9, was killed in April by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the street with his mother in Jackson Heights.
“We’re here because we lost one of our friends in a terrible accident,” said Sophie An, 8, Ampuero’s classmate at PS 162. “We were very sad about it.”
Another of Ampuero’s classmates, Zayna Chaudhry, 9, added, “We should get these safety cameras, so cars can be more careful and cautious, so kids can cross the street safely.”
His-Pei Liao, who said his daughter Allison was killed in a traffic incident while crossing the street in 2013, spoke in favor of the camera program.
“We want to make sure we extend the expiration date on the program and add additional cameras,” Liao said. “We need to change the culture of New York driving.”