City Councilman Brad Lander and four others were arrested Friday morning during a speed camera rally outside Sen. Martin Golden’s office in Bay Ridge.
Lander, joined by four women who have lost loved ones to reckless drivers, stood in the street and blocked traffic in a show of protest over the state Senate’s failure to vote on a bill that would have extended and expanded the city’s school zone speed camera program before the legislative session ended last week.
“This morning I was arrested along with some of the most courageous women I know: @NYC_SafeStreets family members, who have lost loved ones in traffic crashes, now putting themselves on the line to save the lives other people’s children,” Lander later tweeted.
The protesters, organized by Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives, had initially planned to form a blockade in front of Golden’s office and demand he return to Albany with his fellow senators to vote on the bill, but his office remained closed Friday morning.
Advocates for the legislation — which received wide support from community stakeholders, elected officials and Mayor Bill de Blasio — contend Golden did not do enough to ensure the bill was brought to a vote before the session ended, even though he co-sponsored the measure.
John Quaglione, a representative for Golden, said the senator has long supported the city’s speed camera program, adding that he is “strongly advocating” for the Senate to return to Albany for a vote.
“Sen. Golden commends the dedication of those who kept vigil outside his office and stands by his commitment to ensuring the safety of all New Yorkers,” Quaglione said in an emailed statement.
Unless the state Senate reconvenes for a special session and passes the bill, the city will be forced to turn off 140 speed cameras set up near school campuses.
In the first two years that the cameras were deployed around city schools, speeding dropped 63 percent and pedestrian injuries decreased by 23 percent, according to Transportation Alternatives.
The protest was held during the final hour of a 24-hour vigil by members of Families for Safe Streets and Amy Cohen, whose son Sammy was killed in 2013 by a speeding driver.
The four women who were arrested alongside Lander included:
- Jessie Singer, a Transportation Alternatives staff member whose best friend, Eric Ng, was killed by a driver on the Hudson River Greenway.
- Jane Martin-Lavaud, a member of Families for Safe Streets whose daughter Leonora Lavaud was killed by a driver in Gravesend.
- Dana Lerner, a member of Families for Safe Streets, whose son Cooper Stock was killed by a driver on the Upper West Side.
- Debbie Marks Kahn, a member of Families for Safe Streets whose son Seth Kahn was killed by a driver in Hell’s Kitchen.
A similar protest that resulted in nine arrests was held outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office last week after the legislative session ended without Senate action on the bill. Cuomo has said he supported the bill and blamed Senate Republicans for blocking the legislation.