Home rule

Lawmakers consider Adams’ speed camera ‘rule of the house’ request

In an effort to reduce traffic and pedestrian deaths, Mayor Eric Adams is asking state lawmakers to give him more power in the placement of red lights and speed cameras throughout the city.

Although his call for changes to criminal justice reforms has received a lot of attention, Mayor Adams’ push for greater autonomy for traffic law enforcement has largely flown under the radar.

“If our streets aren’t safe, our city isn’t safe. Period,” the mayor tweeted last week. “Home Rule empowers the people who know our city best with the tools to keep our streets safe for every New Yorker.”

What do you want to know

  • Among Mayor Adams’ many demands of Albany this year is New York’s ability to run its own speed and red light cameras.
  • Speed ​​camera pilot program expires this year
  • Currently, Albany imposes strict limits on the city’s use of speed cameras and red light cameras.

Advocates say more needs to be done to prevent road deaths.

“Last year was the deadliest year on our streets since the launch of Vision Zero,” said Danny Harris, executive director of advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. “And this year, we are already on the page to have an even more deadly year. Road fatalities have increased by almost 60% compared to the same period last year. New York City is facing an epidemic of road rage in every corner of the city. »

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the “Vision Zero” program to reduce pedestrian accidents. And during his first year in office, Albany implemented the speed camera program that automatically issues speeding tickets in certain school zones.

This pilot program of radars must still be renewed this year. It’s currently limited to 2,000 cameras in 750 school zones across the city. And the cameras turn off completely at night and on weekends.

The red-light camera program has been around for decades, but remains limited to just one percent of the city’s intersections.

Critics of the current program say it’s time for Albany to give the city authority over these programs and the ability to set its own speed limits.

“It makes no sense that Albany has to dictate to New York City how they can enforce their traffic laws, what their speed limits can be, where to put cameras and other enforcement options. This is nonsense,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes of Brooklyn.

But in some neighborhoods the cameras are very unpopular. Frank Morano, who chairs Community Board 3 in Staten Island, says his board has received many complaints from drivers.

“People don’t like them. And I say that for various reasons. First, it has nothing to do with security. It has everything to do with the city getting revenue,” he said.

Governor Kathy Hochul also supported autonomy, advocates say. They would like to see this done as part of the budget due later this month, but it could also be done as stand-alone legislation outside of the budget process.

Teresa R. Cabrera

The author Teresa R. Cabrera