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    What “rights” are infringed upon? There is no “right” to operate a motor vehicle. As most of us have heard from sanctimonious driver’s Ed teachers: “Driving is a privilege not a right”.


    Joe R.

    Totally agree. Most of the population on Long Island is within 50 miles of city limits. You already have the LIRR. Add a track or two to some lines. Now you can have frequent local/express service. Electrify past Ronkonkoma. Add a North/South line every five miles or so. Now most of the population on Long Island is within 2 miles of an electrified rail line. Many are much closer, but even at 2 miles that’s really easy biking distance. Set up bike share and/or secure bike parking at the rail stations.

    The same system also gives people in Queens or Brooklyn a reasonable non-driving option to visit relatives or friends living on Long Island.






    A rapid transitized east-west LIRR with reasonably good north-south transit routes could give most people on LI an amazingly good transit system, actually. Eastern Nassau is practically contiguous with Queens.



    Why do you hate capitalism?



    Well, attributable hotel taxes alone probably make up for that operating loss easily. I take it the capital loss is, minimally, in the eight figures annually though. I suppose that $39B could be tens or hundreds of millions in taxable private revenue.



    Yes, it’s a vicious conspiracy against bad drivers. Pro-tip: you can totally game the system by not doing anything stupid when driving, of course.



    For heavens sake. Brooklyn kids skip off to school with their lunch pails and unchecked motorists pose no problem whatsoever? Come on. Kids are getting hurt here.



    I looked at the Javits Center financials and I’m back around to where Bob started.

    Per the 2013-14 annual report, the Javits Center accounts for 2 million visitors, 400,000 hotel room nights, and $1.5 billion in economic activity generated. I’m not sure how many of those 2 million were locals vs out-of-towners, but this is about 3% of New York City’s annual tourism figures: 54.3 million visitors in 2013, 30 million hotel room nights, $39 billion in direct spending and $59 billion in overall economic impact.

    For FY 2013 the center ran a $3 million operating loss; for FY ’14 it was just under $1 million. All of that is before depreciation, amortization and the massive public expenditure on capital improvements. 840,000 SF of exhibition space and just under $23 million in space rental revenue last year, rough math is $27.33 per square foot. I would love to know the average annual income of a worker at Javits but I didn’t see it in the report.

    I’m back around to where Bob started: whoa, this place is a boondoggle. Perpetual motion construction machine with minimal or no long-term public benefit. Let’s definitely sell or ground-lease the building and the extremely valuable land, get out of the convention center business and let the private sector work it out, while the freed-up resources go for transit and other beneficial things.



    Joe see the City and the Counties did do the EASY thing by subbing it out to a 3rd party, I agree with what your saying, but the only problem in doing what you propose is that would be the HARD thing.


    Joe R.

    NYC’s mass transit system seems pretty crowded. Apparently lots of people, me included, would prefer to use mass transit instead of private cars. Yes, prefer. I wouldn’t want to drive even if someone handed me a car for free. It’s slow, uncomfortable, dangerous, and stressful. A car is the gift that keeps giving-to the oil companies, insurance companies, DMV, etc. Or if you look at it another way, it’s continually picking the pocket of its owner. I much prefer a mode of transport which I only pay for when I use it. Or better yet, something like a bike, which I buy once, then can use indefinitely with minimal, low cost maintenance and no other expenses.


    Joe R.

    Easy solution then is to have the state buy the cameras outright, install them, run them, and collect 100% of the fines. I agree there’s no reason a private company should collect a cut of the fines. The company should sell the cameras and that’s it. I’m in the electronics business. When I sell things to people, it’s a one-time deal. They get whatever I’m selling, I get the agreed upon price. I don’t get a continual income stream like the companies which make these cameras.



    Let me see if I can type this out in plain English so maybe you guys will understand. New York City and Other Counties throughout NYS hire a Third party for PROFIT company to run the camera programs and in many cases used the very company they hire, to do a STUDY about the effectiveness of the Cameras THEY will install , Every company in the industry has been riddled with corruption, bribery, manipulation of cams (cropping photos, shorting Yellows) Now these companies could care less about SAFETY it’s all about the Money its all about getting the most out each Cam,many Cams have been placed on streets that a child has NEVER crossed, please explain how a Camera placed in that type of location is about SAFETY of children… END of Story… Now being that you guys are ADVOCATES for said companies I would assume your in bed with them as well,therefore everything posted on your blog is utter BS.



    I somehow doubt that these speeding tickets qualify as a “criminal prosecution” for the purposes of the Sixth Amendment. To me they seem closer to library fines. But take it to the Supreme Court, by all means!



    f someone’s drunk and is going to mow down a child in a crosswalk, no camera is going to stop them,

    What about people who mow people down while sober?


    Nicholas Cataldo

    Has nothing to do with peoples lives. Its about screwing people out of money and slowly curbing the public to use mass transit which nobody wants.



    Sorry I should have said this better. Why wouldn’t they want to look like they were protecting their children too?


    Patrick O'Hara

    The thing is, Suffolk County isn’t one bit like Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, Betty-Sue skips off to school with her lunch pail in her hand, crossing streets, and mingling with cars and bicyclists, but out east in Suffolk County, that just doesn’t happen.

    The money the county gets is not insignificant, but a decent chunk of the ‘profits’ are kept by the third party [private] company that installs and operates the camera.

    Most are not annoyed with the fact that they got caught speeding, the vast majority of people are annoyed with the principal and intention of the cameras in the first place.



    Just to add, I wonder how reliable the data actually is. When crashes aren’t thoroughly investigated coming up with contributing factors isn’t an exact science is it?


    Patrick O'Hara

    But it’s a person, so you can exercise your Sixth Amendment right to face your accuser. It’s then the cop’s responsibility to prove that the radar gun was calibrated correctly and then that person was actually guilty of the crime, as per presumption of innocence, not the other way around.



    I think they saw speed cameras getting put in the city and in nassau and thought they could get some good publicity supporting something to protect children.

    2010-2012 20 pedestrians injured per year in speed related crashes. One
    death in 2010, 2011, zero in 2012. In 2011 7 of the pedestrians killed
    or injured were under 18, 6 were under 18 in 2012.

    Compare the speed tables to brooklyn where you have speed correlating better with pedestrian injuries and fatalities

    The available data makes a better case for Brooklyn speed cams. Once they were going in why wouldn’t Suffolk pols want to protect their children too?

    How much revenue actually comes out of this sort of program? Isn’t it just a drop in the bucket?


    Patrick O'Hara

    Oh, and I’ll add–in the 20+ years I lived there, I can’t think of one accident that actually happened within the school zone on the major road, so to go from 0 in 20 years to 3 in a few months is some “improvement.” But, hey, it’s not in a ‘school zone’ so it keeps those statistics looking nice!


    Patrick O'Hara

    Yeah, but a person filed that complaint… so you have the ability to face your accuser.

    Many have tried requesting maintenance and calibration records, judges just roll their eyes. Some “justice.”


    Patrick O'Hara

    Anecdotal, but in the few months since they put up a camera on the street in front of the school where I went to elementary school, many drivers have been detouring onto the small street that runs parallel to the main thoroughfare, and there have been at least three accidents at an intersection along that road since the cameras went up…


    Patrick O'Hara

    Yeah, and when the politicians first thought is to put up a camera there instead of improving the signage, what do you think the real intentions of the speed camera program are…?



    Poor signage is a problem and should be fixed. Especially where the school zone has a speed limit drop of more than 10 mph.



    pushing the bulk of the traffic (and accidents) onto the surrounding sidestreets.

    Any evidence to support this? Once you leave the arterial with the speed camera on it do most streets continue through?



    It’s like a parking ticket. No way of knowing who parked the car there.

    I’m pretty sure if you want to dispute the ticket you can request maintenance and calibration records for the camera in question.



    2010-2012 20 pedestrians injured per year in speed related crashes. One death in 2010, 2011, zero in 2012. In 2011 7 of the pedestrians killed or injured were under 18, 6 were under 18 in 2012.



    Aren’t the speed guns the cops use really just held by the cop? Not much different, except a speeder can try to BS the judge in traffic court.


    Patrick O'Hara

    I can at least say that signage is lacking by the majority of the schools near where I live…the signage is nothing more than one sign, bent over (usually half covered by a bush), on the side of the road.

    The cops can’t be everywhere, but they can not be in parking lots in pairs doing seemingly nothing…



    No – I made no mention of data within school zones because it’s not broken out in anything the state collects.

    Googling nets no results because injury crashes are rarely ever covered by the media. There were *thousands* of injury crashes in that data set in a single year in Suffolk County, but hardly any merit a mention by any news outlet unless, perhaps, they involve a celebrity in the Hamptons. It’s also a reason I think people underestimate the importance of safety measures on our roads — injurious crashes can be incredibly costly and have life-changing impacts. You and I will have to agree to disagree on whether or not cameras should be one of those measures.



    Near the schools where I live in the suburbs, the signage announcing the slower school speed limit, replete with large blinking lights, could not be any bolder. And yet, every driver speeds through the school zones.

    As for the argument that we should have the cops doing it, they can’t be everywhere while sadly, there is speeding and blowing through stop signs, and non-traffic crimes too. Automatic enforcement or changes in road design like speed humps are really the only things that work, and the things that are lightning rods for drivers who want to speed.

    Perhaps the safer streets movement is not strong enough yet.


    Patrick O'Hara

    Devices that merely record and transmit information are one thing…they are not using it to file a complaint against someone (see my comment below)… Speed cameras don’t follow the due process of law (i.e. right to face one’s accuser, presumption of innocence, as mentioned above).



    Why are cameras that capture license plates not ok, when we have to give our full identities when we fly or use transit?


    Patrick O'Hara

    But did it say that those 10% were in school zones? If you took all car crashes in Suffolk County, the vast majority are on highways and major roadways, while the vast minority are in school zones.

    I can’t put that claim to rest because I don’t know of any instances where that has happened… do you have an example of where it did happen? If a Google search has any indication as to the prevalence of these incidents, there have indeed been none, or the number of them is extremity minuscule.



    Start some direct action!

    My condolences to the families of the dead. It could have been any of us.

    Petition signed. (^_^)/



    Drunks are irrelevant to this argument. Like you said, drunks are going to do what drunks are going to do. Even with a cop tailing them, as you suggest there should be more cops enforcing the speed limit instead, a drunk can just as easily ignore the cop as a camera and do damage. Luckily, hopefully, most people aren’t driving drunk.

    If speed limit signage is so bad by you, might I suggest you spending your time petitioning your elected officials to improve that signage, because improved speed signage, like cameras, will improve safety.



    Actually, the 10% figure came from a data set that specifically showed speeding-related deaths and injuries by age group; the only extrapolation I did was over ten years since the data set available only covered two years.

    You seem to be making more coherent arguments than the OP in this thread, so perhaps you know of a data source that could put his spurious claim that not a single child has been hit by a car in a school zone in Suffolk County in more than ten years to rest (or, however unlikely it seems to me, prove him right)?


    Patrick O'Hara

    Nope, I meant objectively. Do you drive on Long Island, Mr. Joe? I do, and by me, the signage is terrible.. If they made an effort to increase signage and awareness of speed limits in advance of them changing, then you would maybe have fewer accidents.

    The cameras don’t actively make the streets safer (especially if it’s hidden away in a tree), if someone’s drunk and is going to mow down a child in a crosswalk, no camera is going to stop them, they only passively make the streets marginally safer by infringing on the rights of drivers and pushing the bulk of the traffic (and accidents) onto the surrounding sidestreets.



    I think you meant “subjectively.”

    Here’s my subjective opinion to complement yours: A hidden camera is much more effective camera than one accompanied by large signs, lights, and other warnings. If you know a camera is ahead, you will slow down only in that area only. If you don’t know where a camera is, than you’ll hopefully be more likely to obey the speed limit everywhere, since you don’t know when or where you might get flagged. Better yet, let’s not just hide the cameras, lets move them around periodically too.

    And yes, roads have different speed limits. Roads also have signs that let drivers know what the speed limit is. If you see a sign that says 15mph, and drive 15mph, you’ll be fine. If you see a sign that says 30mph and you drive 30mph, you’ll be fine.

    Also, you can tell speed from a video. Not with a naked eye, but my comparing the distance the vehicle traveled and the time it took to do so, both things that can be discerned from a video, then with a little simple math, you can find the speed. And, the radar guns are calibrated periodically, just like a police officer’s radar gun.

    In the end it all comes down to the fact that if you drive the speed limit, you won’t get a ticket.


    Patrick O'Hara

    You did say that “about 10% were speed-related, which means roughly 1,600 children were injured by speeding drivers over 10 years” drawing the [very likely incorrect] conclusion that child deaths are distributed very similarly to the mean, which is not likely. Since those statistics are not available, you can’t draw any conclusions like that…

    You have to keep in mind that Suffolk County is very different than Nassau County and is very different from the city… I see a child on foot or bike a single digit number of times each year. What works in the city doesn’t always work out here…

    The most dangerous streets see hardly any pedestrians or cyclists crossing them anyways. When I was younger and lived in Nassau County, we were strongly instructed by our parents to never cross Jerusalem Avenue and never cross Hicksville Road. We were never allowed to walk or bike to school. Now they have a speed camera on the busy road in front of my elementary school… I asked my parents if they would have reconsidered their ‘mandate’ if there was a speeding camera there, and they said they never would… The cameras don’t actively make the streets safer, if someone’s drunk and is going to mow down a child in a crosswalk, no camera is going to stop them, they only passively make the streets marginally safer by infringing on the rights of drivers and pushing the bulk of the traffic (and accidents) onto the surrounding sidestreets.



    I never claimed all of them did. I raised suspicion that NOT ONE of them did because the OP’s claim that a single child has not been hit by a car in a school zone in over ten years seems statistically unlikely. Unfortunately, without open data on the location of each of the 1,600+ deaths and injuries to children on foot or bike in Suffolk County in the last ten years (see another reply from ahwr), it seems we’re at an impasse to prove or disprove his point. To me, it seems highly unlikely.


    Patrick O'Hara

    Yeah, but those devices merely record and transmit information…they are not using it to file a complaint against someone… It doesn’t follow the due process of law (i.e. right to face one’s accuser, presumption of innocence, as mentioned above).


    Patrick O'Hara

    Much of that ideology is derived from the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution… the right to face one’s accuser. In a traffic stop, you can face an actual person who watched you commit the crime and signed the complaint against you. It’s not some ‘camera’ that you have no insight into how it was maintained or calibrated, etc., and the person who is filing the complaint against you is a some nameless person who works for a third party corporation… The county is under no obligation to prove the camera was working, and when you ask to face your accuser, the judge laughs in your face. That’s some “justice.”

    Additionally, the complaints are filed against the owner of the car…not the driver. The burden of proving one guilty falls on the state…it’s not the person’s responsibility to prove their innocent. That’s also in the Constitution… The current cameras have no way to determine who was driving the car…yet the complaint is arbitrarily filed against the owner of the car…


    Patrick O'Hara

    That’s a very strained conclusion to make…it was 1,600 children in all crashes… unless you have any actual data saying how many of those where children killed in school zones, please try again. Those accidents could have just as likely been caused by a drunk driver, someone texting, not paying attention, or other stupid things drivers can do. Saying that 10% of all crashes “involving speed” (hint: Suffolk County has a lot of highways and far fewer schools) must all be in school zones is ridiculous…



    As long as it’s not a knife they’ll support it.


    Patrick O'Hara

    Maybe you should look at it from both sides of the coin? I’ve read dozens of stories on here where the author is whining about police officers “unfairly” ticketing cyclists who break the law. How is this any different? Other than they are on bikes and these people are in cars…

    Objectively, the purpose of this program was to raise money…that’s it. If it was really about improving saftey, this would have come with better, more obvious signage so drivers know what they are coming up to, not cameras that are hidden around bends, poorly signed, etc. The speed limits themselves are varied and inconsistent…30mph here, 15mph here…on major four-lane roads they don’t give you hardly enough time to slow down to the speed.

    The cameras are run by a third-party company who keep a chunk of the ‘profits’, there’s no real credibility to the maintenance or accuracy of the cameras (red light cameras are one thing–you can see the light is red…but can you look at a video and say “oh, that person there was going 31.2 miles per hour”…no.)

    If you’d like to crack down on speeding, get actual police officers out there with calibrated radar guns and have them write tickets to the drivers…with all the time I’ve seen Nassau and Suffolk cops sitting in parking lots doing very little, they could be out there keeping kids from getting mowed down in crosswalks, since it seems to be such a frequent occurrence lately…



    Given that high-speed vehicles are weapons, they are covered by the second amendment. The NRA will now lobby for the right to drive your car at high speed inside public buildings. Hey, you might need to run over a mass murderer at a moment’s notice! Be prepared!


    Joe R.

    Amendment XXVIII:

    The right of the people to drive at any speed they wish shall not be infringed.