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Queens Chronicle

Drivers on CB 7 blast speed camera policy

Board also hears from state DOT about Van Wyck deck replacement project

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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 1:00 pm, Thu Nov 7, 2019.

Drivers on Community Board 7 grilled State Sen. John Liu (D-Bayside) Monday night for his support of speed cameras in school zones.

It all started when the northeast Queens lawmaker, who used to sit on CB 7 and had on a shirt with the board’s logo on it, took a question about the changes in state law that allowed the program to expand.

“Why are they there in the summer?” board member Joe Sweeney asked. “Why are they there on the weekends? And why is it from 6 [a.m.] to 10 [p.m.]?”

Liu pointed out that most of his district’s schools aren’t shut down in the summer time.

“There are lots of events happening,” said the state senator, who also used to be city comptroller and the area’s councilman. “The sports teams are in there. The clubs are in there. And sometimes, maybe they’re not all the way until 10 o’clock every day, but there are enough occasions where that happens.”

CB 7 Third Vice Chairman Frank Macchio suggested that speed bumps be used instead of cameras to slow down drivers by the schools.

“With three of the five tickets that I’ve gotten with these things, I didn’t even know it was a school,” he said.

Board member Kim Ohanian — who was criticized earlier this year for saying pedestrians who text while crossing the street “deserve to get run over” — also weighed in.

“I got a ticket on July 4,” she said. “There is never going to be school on July 4. No way, no how. Do you think that’s right?”

Liu responded by asking if she wanted the cameras synchronized to avoid catching drivers on holidays, but he noted that he doesn’t think “we have that capacity right now” to time the cameras in that way.

CB 7 First Vice Chairman Chuck Apelian disagreed: “Oh yes, we do.”

Apelian had criticized the city’s speed camera program at last month’s board meeting. He said he was caught speeding three times.

CB 7 Second Vice Chairman Warren Schreiber explained his own perspective.

“Whether it’s July 4, New Year’s Day, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, the speed limit is still 25,” he said. “The speed limit doesn’t change. So it doesn’t matter if you’re on the street where the posted speed limit is 25 and it happens to be Thanksgiving. That doesn’t mean you can celebrate by doing 35. There are posted speed limits.”

CB 7 also received a presentation from the state Department of Transportation about the planned Van Wyck Expressway deck replacement project. Officials say it will extend the highway’s service life by 40 years.

There will be intermittent nighttime lane closures, but not during the US Open.

Up to 80 parking spaces may be affected, though the officials said that they would be relocated. All of the spaces would be available for parking during the tennis tournament, according to the state DOT.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2020 and be substantially completed by the autumn of 2023.

At the end of the meeting, CB 7 approved its capital and expense budget requests. The panel is seeking more than 40 items, including a reconstruction of Union Street between Northern Boulevard and 26th Avenue, locker rooms at the 109th Precinct station house and the cleaning of catch basins in Community District 7.

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  • postal guy posted at 5:41 pm on Mon, Nov 4, 2019.

    postal guy Posts: 17

    These speed cameras are nothing more than a money making scheme.

    The people who review these pictures do or should have knowledge of any activity at the school. To get a ticket at 9 pm or later for speeding in a school zone is a money grab, pure and simple. By the time you get the ticket in the mail, you most likely have no idea of what they are talking about. Rather than go back to 'the scene of the crime' and look at it, they just pay the $50, which the city knows they will do. It is a scar on this city, the ways they dream up to make money from basically law abiding citizens. This is real criminal behavior, not someone doing 30 mph at 10 pm on a deserted street that happens to be adjacent to a closed school.

  • friendlyphil posted at 8:29 pm on Fri, Nov 1, 2019.

    friendlyphil Posts: 0

    I've been driving safely, courteously, and without an accident or moving violation for 30 years, yet I've received four of these camera violations this year. Suggestion: Instead of using still-shots to go for the easy money "catching" numerous drivers at the same time who are safely "going with the flow," how about using video to get the drivers who actually endanger lives? The drivers who turn without yielding to pedestrians, and recklessly zig-zag in & out of lanes. While you're at it, maybe NYPD brass can put their powerful brains together to come up with a way to round up gangs of masked man-children riding unregistered, uninsured, & untraceable ATV's thru blatantly red lights, on sidewalks literally zig-zagging thru pedestrians while popping wheelies, and against the flow of traffic on both small streets and major boulevards. But that would be too effective, and DeBlasio is useless.