Assemblyman Robert Carroll says Republican State Senator are playing politics with children’s lives

The Assembly voted in favor of increasing the number of speed cameras in city school zones but the Senate closed the legislative session without bringing the bill to the floor, causing the shutdown on July 25.

A total of 120 speed cameras — the traffic technology which enforces slower driving in school zones — were unplugged on July 25, as a result of the state senate ending its legislative session without bringing the issue to the floor.

The remaining 20 speed cameras will shut off in mid-August if the senate does not reopen the session, according to Assemblymember Robert Carroll, who represents the neighborhoods of Park Slope and Kensington.

Carroll co-sponsored the bill in collaboration with Transportation Alternatives Families for Safe Streets to boost the number of speed cameras near city schools from 140 to 290.

“There is a lot of pedestrian traffic around city schools because of the volume of students, parents, teachers, administrators, every morning and afternoon,” Carroll said. “It’s just a common sense way to save peoples’ lives.” 

The cameras recorded people driving over the speed limit the hour before and after school, and drivers who were caught speeding were fined $50, according to nyc.gov.  Going 25 miles an hour or less can drastically increase a pedestrian’s chances of surviving a collision with a vehicle. 

“No one should get away with endangering our schoolchildren,” Senate member Jesse Hamilton (D) said. 

TransAlt convened an all-city public assembly last Wednesday night with a few Assembly and Council members to strategize getting the speed cameras back by the time the school year begins. Paul Steely White, the executive director of TransAlt, said that over 300 organizations and institutions from across the five boroughs back the bill to expand and increase the speed cameras.

“There is no such coalition on the other side — just a small handful of obstructionist Republican lawmakers who blockaded the rest of the Senate from being able to vote its conscience on this life-saving measure,” White said in a statement. 

Hamilton said he co-sponsored the school speed safety camera legislation from the outset, but that its success now lies in the hands of Senate Republicans.

”The Senate needs to reconvene and take this urgently needed step to make our roads safer,” Hamilton said. “We must honor the memory of all those injured or killed by deadly crashes. How this issue proceeds depends on Republicans in the Senate.”

With just a few weeks left of summer break, there will soon be over one million students affected by the Senate majority’s neglect, according to White.

But Carroll said that if Senate doesn’t resume its session in Albany in the next week, he has a plan of action:

“If the Senate doesn’t call themselves back into session within the next week or so, I will urge [New York State] Governor Andrew Cuomo to call for a special session,” Carroll said. “[Senate members] are playing politics with children’s lives.”

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Miranda Levingston

Covering everything Brooklyn. Twitter: @MLevNews

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