Marty Golden’s Answer to Speed Cams: More 20 MPH School Zones

A protest outside State Senator Marty Golden’s district office this afternoon, organized by Bay Ridge Advocates for Keeping Everyone Safe (BRAKES), blasted the Bay Ridge Republican for his continued opposition to speed cameras, which kept a demonstration program out of this year’s state budget.

Marty Golden wants you to think he's a street safety champion, even as he opposes speed cameras. Photo: NY Senate

In response, Golden sent a statement to Capital New York:

Like the parents here today, I share with them the concern for the safety of our children. Other locations across the United States have found speed camera technology unreliable. If we can prove that the technology is sound, and document unequivocally that it will reduce speeding and fatalities, that would provide reason to consider the possibility of speed camera legislation.

We need to reduce speeding around schools, by setting up safety zones as well as increasing traffic lights, speed humps, stop signs and reduce the speed limits around schools 10 miles per hour to 20 mph. In the coming days I will be introducing legislation to create these speed zones throughout New York City school zones to reduce speeding near our educational institutions. It is clear, however, that the most effective way to reduce speeding and speeding related fatalities is increased police and prosecution of reckless driving.

Golden’s proposed legislation, which has not yet been filed in the Senate, would require the posting of 20 mph school zones in New York City, though it would not provide an enforcement mechanism. Golden’s legislation would layer on top of existing rules, which already allow municipalities to establish school zones.

If Golden wants proof that speed cameras work, there are plenty of studies he could look at. An international review of speed cameras found that, in 28 of 28 comprehensive surveys, camera programs were successful at reducing crash rates. In Maryland, speed cameras have been shown to have a “halo effect,” reducing speeds even on streets where they haven’t been installed.

In Washington, DC, which is a fraction of the size of New York, the local government has installed 90 speed cameras. Since the program began in 2001, traffic fatalities there have fallen 73 percent. Over the same period, fatalities on New York City streets dropped 30 percent.

The final line of Golden’s statement, however, gives his game away: “The most effective way to reduce speeding and speeding related fatalities,” he says, “is increased police.” Perhaps a few clones could solve that problem, as long as they pay dues to the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

Does Marty Golden think the public will swallow the line that he cares about traffic safety, as he blocks a proven safety technology that’s supported by an overwhelming majority of city officials?