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Posts from the "Marty Golden" Category

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Martin Dilan Introduces 20 MPH Bill in State Senate

Supporters of home rule legislation for NYC speed limits at Grand Army Plaza Sunday. Photo: Dmitry Gudkov

Supporters of home rule legislation for NYC speed limits rallied at Grand Army Plaza Sunday. Photo: Dmitry Gudkov

State Senator Martin Malave Dilan, of Brooklyn, has introduced companion legislation to Assembly Member Dan O’Donnell’s speed limit bill, which would set the maximum speed on NYC streets at 20 miles per hour, except on streets ”where the City Council determines a different speed limit is appropriate.”

“In the first two weeks of 2014 there were seven pedestrian fatalities, two in the same day,” reads a statement on Dilan’s web site. “While Mayor de Blasio’s ramped-up enforcement has made an impact, the city requires additional tools to realistically address these fatalities.”

Dilan chairs the Senate transportation committee. At this writing the speed limit bill has no Senate cosponsors, and could face an uphill climb. When O’Donnell introduced the Assembly version in January, Senator Marty Golden called it an “overreaction” to pedestrian deaths.

A pedestrian hit by a vehicle moving at 20 mph has a 95 percent chance of surviving. For a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph, the current city speed limit, the survival rate drops to 55 percent. Research cited by the 20′s Plenty For Us campaign shows that lower speed limits reduce collisions overall.

In their first two weeks of operation, DOT speed cameras issued 900 tickets in school zones. The cameras are operational only during school hours, and only ticket drivers who are traveling at least 10 mph over the speed limit.

At least 12 children age 14 and under were killed by New York City motorists since January 2013, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Traffic crashes consistently rank as the leading cause of injury-related death for children in NYC. Research shows that children under the age of 10 can’t hear oncoming vehicles as well as older kids and adults.

Yesterday, over 100 people gathered on Prospect Park West in support of the speed limit bills, at a rally organized by Right of Way. “This is a crucial step in Mayor de Blasio’s push toward Vision Zero,” said Right of Way’s Keegan Stephan in a written statement. Stephan said yesterday’s event was held with just two days’ notice.

As we reported in January, the proposed state legislation is stronger than similar bills introduced in the City Council last year, and would supersede equivalent city laws.

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Does Marty Golden Really Need Convincing That Lower Speeds Save Lives?

The Daily News didn’t need to send anyone to stand in traffic for man-on-the-street reaction quotes on Dan O’Donnell’s bill to lower the speed limit in NYC to 20 miles per hour.

Instead, all they had to do was call up Marty Golden.

With 12 children age 14 and under killed by NYC motorists in the last 12 months, Marty Golden believes lowering the speed limit is an "overreaction."

With 12 children age 14 and under killed by NYC motorists in the last 12 months, Marty Golden believes lowering the speed limit is an “overreaction.”

[Golden] called O’Donnell’s bill an “overreaction” and warned the lower speed limit would snarl traffic throughout the city.

“Traffic would go nowhere,” Golden said. “It would be a disaster and it is not going to eliminate the unlicensed driver who shouldn’t be driving or the driver who’s on drugs or alcohol.”

Golden said a better approach would be to stiffen penalties for aggressive drivers — to “get these morons off the road” — and to better mark off school zones.

Let us count the straw men. Would traffic come to a standstill if speed limits were lowered to 20 miles per hour? No. Where traffic is gridlocked, it already moves much slower than that. What this bill will do is encourage many people to drive at less lethal speeds on streets where they currently open up the throttle.

Slowing down speeding drivers has nothing to do with catching drunk or unlicensed drivers. It is ridiculous to say that since lowering the speed limit would not solve all traffic-related issues it isn’t worth doing.

Albany should certainly stiffen penalties for aggressive drivers. But again, that is a completely separate issue from slowing traffic in general. A pedestrian hit by a vehicle moving at 20 mph has a 95 percent chance of living through the collision. For a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph, the current city speed limit, the chance of survival drops to 55 percent. Further, drivers traveling at 20 mph can more easily avoid collisions in the first place. Research cited by the 20′s Plenty For Us campaign shows that lower speed limits reduce collisions overall.

Safe Routes to School is a successful program, but slowing drivers citywide would make kids safer than adding paint and signage near schools, or whatever it is Golden is suggesting.

Golden has a mixed record on safe streets legislation. He sponsored bills to toughen penalties for drivers who leave crash scenes, and to require mirrors on large trucks that let drivers see kids who are in front of them. He was a holdout on allowing speed cameras in NYC, but eventually came around.

It’s unclear where his opposition to O’Donnell’s bill is coming from, but if Golden is interested in saving the lives of children, he will get behind the effort to lower the maximum legal speed in NYC.

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Marty Golden Needs to Hear From New Yorkers Who Want Speed Cameras

It appears The speed camera bill will clear has cleared the Assembly, but the effort to protect NYC school kids from reckless drivers is in trouble in the State Senate.

As NYC's Republican leader in the Senate, responsibility for the speed camera bill rests with Marty Golden.

At this writing, S04459A is laid aside for discussion. We’re hearing from multiple sources that Senate Republicans say they oppose the bill, but are offering no consensus why. Regardless, as the leader of the NYC delegation, responsibility for getting the bill through the Senate rests with Marty Golden.

“Senator Golden is the key to making sure this comes up for a full vote,” says Juan Martinez, general counsel for Transportation Alternatives, who spoke with us from Albany.

With the bill stalled in the transportation committee yesterday, it appeared committee chair Senator Charles Fuschillo was the obstacle. But a spokesperson refused to discuss why Fuschillo, of Long Island, would have a problem with a speed enforcement measure for New York City.

Echoing the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Golden has said he objects to speed cameras as a substitute for police officers. Despite copious evidence that speed cameras work, he later questioned their effectiveness, saying he would support cameras if he could be convinced that the “technology is proven.”

“Senator Golden has indicated that he understands the importance of the legislation, and wouldn’t vote against it if it came to the floor,” says Martinez. “But the residents of the city of New York need him to push for a vote in order to make sure this gets done this session.”

With a backlog of bills, the legislature extended its session. With business expected to wrap up today, there’s still time to let Marty Golden know that New Yorkers want speed cameras to make it safer for kids to walk to school. Golden’s contact info is here.

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Motorists Killed at Least Two Pedestrians in Marty Golden’s District in April

A pedestrian struck by a motorist on April 1 in Bay Ridge died from her injuries. The crash occurred on a section of Fourth Avenue where DOT plans to install a pedestrian fence, and in a precinct where NYPD writes a speeding ticket once every five days.

At least two pedestrians were killed by drivers in April in the 68th Precinct, which wrote 63 speeding tickets in 2012. State Senator Marty Golden, whose district encompasses the precinct, is opposed to automated speed enforcement.

The victim, a 30-year-old female whose name was not published, was struck by the driver of a Honda sedan as she attempted to cross mid-block on Fourth near 86th Street, according to an April 2 story from the Brooklyn Daily. The impact broke one of her arms and caused severe head trauma.

The FDNY said they took the victim to Lutheran Medical Center where she later died from her injuries.

An NYPD spokeswoman said that the driver was uninjured and remained at the scene. An investigation is ongoing, but there is no evidence of a crime.

“It looks like it was just an accident,” the spokeswoman said.

A different version of the Brooklyn Daily story first appeared in the Brooklyn Paper, which reported that the victim was transported in cardiac arrest.

Coverage of the crash makes no mention of how fast the driver was going before the collision. A pedestrian’s chance of survival when hit by a vehicle decreases dramatically as motorist speed increases. Speeding was the leading cause of NYC traffic deaths in 2012, according to DOT.

DOT is planning a slate of changes to Fourth Avenue aimed at slowing down drivers and reducing traffic injuries and deaths. According to reports, one element of the proposal is a pedestrian fence, similar to those in Midtown Manhattan, to prevent “jaywalking.”

As usual, NYPD is AWOL on traffic calming. The 68th Precinct, where this crash occurred, and where an elderly woman was killed by a driver in a Fourth Avenue crosswalk on April 30, issued just 63 speeding tickets in 2012.

Both fatalities happened in Marty Golden’s state senate district. Golden has blocked the city from implementing a speed camera pilot program, though NYPD supports automated enforcement. Golden can be reached at 718-238-6044 and @SenMartyGolden.

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Motorist Kills Senior in District of Speed Cam Foe Marty Golden [Updated]

Update: The Home Reporter reports that the elderly victim of this crash has died.

Residents of Bay Ridge are again calling for measures to rein in reckless motorists after a Tuesday crash that sent at least one pedestrian to the hospital. The crash occurred in the district of State Senator Marty Golden, who has blocked a widely-supported speed camera program from being implemented in NYC.

The 68th Precinct wrote 63 speeding tickets in 2012. State Senator Marty Golden, whose district encompasses the precinct, is opposed to automated speed enforcement.

Published reports say the driver of a Cadillac Escalade struck an elderly woman while making a right turn from 82nd Street onto Fourth Avenue. Brooklyn Daily reports that the victim was declared likely to die.

NYPD and FDNY had few details. The NYPD public information office said the victim was an elderly Asian female, whose identity has not been released. An FDNY spokesperson told Streetsblog responders got the call at 10:39 a.m., and said two victims were transported. FDNY had no information on the condition of either victim. WNBC was the only media outlet we found with a report that two victims were struck.

The NYPD spokesperson said no summonses were issued, and that “no criminality is suspected.”

The Brooklyn Eagle reported that Council Member Vincent Gentile was at the scene:

Gentile said he was told that the victim was in “very bad shape” and that she had been rushed by ambulance to Lutheran Medical Center. “She apparently hit her head hard on the pavement when she was hit by the car,” Gentile said.

“The pedestrian went up in the air and came back down,” said one witness, to the Home Reporter. An NYPD spokesperson told the Brooklyn Daily that police “had no evidence that the motorist was speeding or breaking any other traffic laws,” though “[w]itnesses pointed out that the woman was already in the crosswalk when struck, and state law grants right of way to pedestrians over drivers when both have the light.”

The 68th Precinct, where the crash occurred, issued just 63 speeding citations in 2012 [PDF]. Locals are pushing for improved traffic enforcement, including the use of speed cameras, on Fourth Avenue.

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Jumaane Williams Calls for Speed Cams in Wake of Toddler’s Death

City Council Member Jumaane Williams has issued a statement calling for speed cameras and other traffic-calming measures following the death of Denim McLean, the 2-year-old killed by a curb-jumping driver in East Flatbush.

City Council Member Jumaane Williams

Williams also says more motorists should be held responsible for crashes that result in death.

This incident took place at the corner of Church and Utica Avenues, which has long been a problem area for accidents with pedestrians, even according to the Department of Transportation. I plan to meet with DOT officials in the coming days to discuss safety at this intersection and the Utica Avenue corridor in general. We must push for more traffic calming measures, measures that save lives and improve transportation in the long term. We need speed cameras at this cross-section and throughout this community, and it is my sincere hope that the State Senate will end their obstruction of this effort. While I do not know fully the details of this accident, I do believe that we must work together toward achieving greater accountability of drivers that cause fatal crashes. Finally, we must all exercise much greater caution on the roads. Getting to our destination safely must always be the priority.

There were six pedestrian fatalities in Williams’s district between 2009 and 2011, according to federal data mapped by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. All of the victims were children and seniors. The 67th Precinct, which encompasses much of the district, wrote 45 speeding tickets in 2012, an average of one every eight days.

Speed cameras have overwhelming support among city officials. A proposed demonstration program was included in the State Assembly budget proposal, but was blocked by Marty Golden and Simcha Felder in the Senate. Bronx Senator Jeff Klein has introduced a bill to bring speed cameras to NYC, but Golden says more 20 mph zones will be sufficient to reduce the number of crashes like the one that killed Denim McLean.

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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.

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Vance to Albany Obstructionists: Stop Blocking Speed Cams

Pretty much every line of Cy Vance’s op-ed on the value of speed cameras is worthy of an excerpt. But the takeaway should be this: Every relevant sector of city government has endorsed the proposed NYC speed camera demonstration program.

As Manhattan’s top law enforcer, whose office is separate from the Bloomberg administration, Vance’s support carries extra weight.

Wrote Vance in today’s AMNY:

The pilot program has strong support from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and the police commissioner — the people who know best which safety measures are likely to be effective.

Unfortunately, none of us has a vote in Albany — we can only beg, plead and loudly encourage our colleagues in government to do the right thing for New York City: Give us the ability to save lives by using this important tool to make our streets safer, encourage responsible driving and reduce crashes.

The question is whether lawmakers Marty Golden and Simcha Felder, who represent NYC in Albany, will get out of the way of a measure that will make city streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.

To those who have to this point blocked the speed cam program, Vance said: “The argument made by the few remaining opponents of speed cameras — that we are choosing cameras over more police officers — is a red herring. Speed cameras will not reduce the number of police officers in our neighborhoods. They will add to our safety, not detract from it.”

With near-unanimous support at the city level, will Golden and Felder continue to obstruct?

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Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein Wants NYC Speed Cameras Approved This Year

It’s no joke — Jeff Klein is taking up the cause of NYC speed cameras in the State Senate.

Photo: Daily News

The Daily News reports that Klein, the Bronx Democrat who leads the Senate along with Republican Dean Skelos, will make the proposed speed camera demonstration program a priority in the remaining weeks of the current legislative session, which ends in June.

“I think this is a very smart approach to alleviate speeding,” Klein said of speed enforcement cameras.

“Our police do an incredible job fighting crime in the city, but they can’t be everywhere at once,” he added. “Let’s get these speed cameras in place so our city’s Finest can continue fighting crime and not writing traffic tickets.”

Authorization for a small number of speed cameras was included in the Assembly budget, but the program was opposed by Senator Marty Golden and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. Golden has since indicated that he is open to automated enforcement if “the technology is proven.”

Dozens of studies by corporate and public interest groups have shown that speed cameras reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities. Motorist speed was the leading single factor in city traffic deaths in 2012, contributing to 81 fatal crashes, according to NYC DOT.

Given Klein’s stature in Albany, his support should provide a significant boost to what would be NYC’s first-ever speed camera program.

“New Yorkers will applaud Senator Klein for working to bring New York City the speed cameras we need,” said Michael Murphy, spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives. “It’s time for the last few holdouts in Albany to stop standing in the way of these life-saving enforcement tools and join Senator Klein to allow speed cameras in New York City.”

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Marty Golden Intros Bill to Enforce NYC Speed Limit With Police Clones

Image: Office of State Senator Marty Golden

After blocking the authorization of NYC’s first speed enforcement cameras, State Senator Marty Golden (R – Bay Ridge) has introduced a bill that he says will lead to safer streets while placating the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the police union that opposes speed cams.

The bill, S 5639, enables cities with a million or more residents to establish a “clone-enhanced speed enforcement pilot program” in which DNA from PBA members will be harvested, fused with human eggs, and genetically modified to create a special cadre of police clones tasked with enforcing the speed limit. The bill would require clones to join the PBA before they are authorized to issue speeding citations.

State Senator Marty Golden

While the city’s red light camera program has already proven effective at curbing dangerous driving, the PBA has insisted that only flesh-and-blood police officers should issue speeding tickets. NYPD, however, has shown little inclination to prioritize speed enforcement under commissioner Ray Kelly, who has shifted an enormous share of department resources to counterterror initiatives.

“It was never quite clear to me why the PBA opposed speed cams, because it’s not like cops enjoy traffic stops or going to traffic court,” said Golden. “Nevertheless, they call the shots. Speeding on the streets of New York is unacceptable and puts all of us at risk, and this bill will allow us to save lives while ensuring that only dues-paying members of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association can enforce the speed limit, which is what really matters.”

The speed enforcement clone program would entail a significant upfront investment in the PBA’s Human Cloning Lab. Golden assured the press that this would not come at any additional cost to the taxpayer. A consortium of investors, including JPMorgan and Canadian pension funds, has agreed to supply the union with the necessary financing for research, development, and maintenance of 10,000 clones. The loan — estimated at upwards of $50 billion — would be provided in return for a guaranteed revenue stream to be generated by speeding tickets after the clones reach maturity.

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