State Sen. Jose Peralta (D) called on State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Long Island) to reconvene the Senate for a special session to renew and expand his school zone speed camera program bill (S. 6046-C).
Peralta’s call comes as city students will return to school on Sept. 5.
“Currently, we have 35 co-sponsors on this truly bipartisan bill. We have to stop playing politics with our children’s lives. Who are the grown-ups here? Sadly, Republican leadership refuses to reconvene the Senate to reinstate and expand the life-saving school zone speed camera program. We have three weeks until more than one million children return to school in New York City. Let’s return to Albany, right this wrong and ensure our kids are protected when they go back to school,” said Peralta.
The five-year pilot program, the state legislature first authorized in 2013 and expanded one year later, recently expired on July 25. Under this program, 140 cameras were placed near schools within the most dangerous traffic corridors and intersections across the city.
Since being instituted statistics have shown, the school zone speed camera program has saved lives. There has been a 63% decline in speeding violations at locations with this speed monitoring technology, resulting in safer streets and an overall decline in traffic-related injuries and deaths.
Co-sponsoring the bill are all 31 members of the State Democratic Conference, along with four Republican Senators – Marty Golden, Pamela Helming, Elaine Phillips and Patty Ritchie.
Prior to the legislative session concluding in June, the City Council approved a required Home Rule Message and the bill was then approved by the Assembly on June 18. Governor Cuomo has pledged to sign the legislation once it passes the Senate.
On August 9, Peralta sent a letter to Flanagan urging him to reconvene the senate. “The safety of New York City school kids should not remain in jeopardy,” wrote Senator Peralta in the missive.
Under Peralta’s proposed bill, 150 speed monitoring devices would be added to the existing 140. The program will be in operation for the next four years. Until July 25, these automated speed enforcement devices had been active beginning one hour before until one hour after a scheduled school day. Additionally, the cameras were in operation from up to 30 minutes prior until 30 minutes following student activities.