After a multi-year push to extend and broaden the pilot program, both chambers in the State Legislature, controlled by Democrats, finally passed the bill championed by street safety advocates.
When the program is fully implemented, all elementary schools and the majority of middle schools in the city will have operational speed cameras nearby.
According to city data, speeding has been reduced by 63 percent, and traffic injuries by 14 percent, in areas where speed cameras exist.
As Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in her remarks last week, “the numbers don’t lie.”
The passage of this bill represents a major victory for not just advocates like Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives, but all students, parents and elderly who just want to cross the street safely.
It sends an important message that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists all have to share the road equitably and safely. In our car-crazed society, that idea often falls on deaf ears.
But no more. After being thwarted by Republicans in the State Senate, including former State Senator Marty Golden of Brooklyn, the common-sense speed camera legislation found a champion in Golden’s replacement, Andrew Gounardes.
In a passionate speech on the State Senate floor, Gounardes credited the advocacy of groups like Families for Safe Streets, which puts a human face on the cost of inaction and the status quo.
We also praise the organization for its steadfast determination and moral leadership. It never gave up even when the legislation was repeatedly shot down by opponents.
We would also be remiss if we didn’t mention the work of the late State Senator Jose Peralta, who also fought hard for the bill. He will forever be remembered for promoting safety on our streets.