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Queens Chronicle

Backers still driving toward speed cameras

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Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:34 am, Thu Apr 11, 2013.

The dispute over the proposed installation of cameras at corners to photograph speeding drivers intensified after state Senate co-Leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) announced on Monday that he would support the passage of legislation that would finance the plan.

The proposed bill, which is slated to be introduced and voted on by the Senate before June, is backed by the Assembly. A nonbinding resolution advocating for the state to allow the cameras was approved by the City Council on March 20.

The legislation is supported by Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and, in Queens, Council members including Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), as well as several transportation safety advocacy groups.

But some say the plan would be unreliable and costly.

“Before we go down the road of cameras, let’s look at hiring and recruiting more police officers,” said state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach). “Senator Klein has good intentions, and most bills start with good intentions but once we implement it, the intentions fall short and we have a bad result.”

Addabbo, like many others who oppose the plan, said the bill does not clearly outline a monitoring system, maintenance strategy or statistics on the direct effect that cameras would have on limiting speeding.

The main drivers’ advocacy group also opposes cameras.

“The legislation that we’ve seen was written exceedingly vague, and in certain situations, like on some local highways, it would be like shooting fish in a barrel,” said Robert Sinclair, media relations manager for the New York branch of the American Automobile Association. “We don’t think this is the right way of doing things.”

Those who support the bill believe the cameras would deter drivers from speeding through particular intersections knowing they could get penalized. Supporters also cite statistics that point to speeding as the leading cause of traffic-related deaths in 2012.

“Anybody who drives on New York City streets knows how dangerous they [speeders] are,” said state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside). “We need to do whatever we can to improve traffic safety, and if that means installing speeding cameras, I am totally in favor of it.”

The bill was not included in the state’s recently approved budget plan as supporters had originally hoped.

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