NY Democrats won’t let NYC control its traffic law cameras

By | July 14, 2023
NY Democrats won’t let NYC control its traffic law cameras

The Democrat-controlled Albany Legislature will not be giving New York City the power to regulate its automated speed- and red-light cameras this year, and Mayor Eric Adams is placing blame squarely on the state leaders.

Adams, responding in part to The Post’s reporting that his administration has mounted a lackluster lobbying effort on speed cams and other Albany priorities, said Thursday that state legislators also have an obligation to keep New Yorkers safe.

“The real question should be not [if] we’re telling them if they should do it or not, [but] do they feel this is the right thing to do. Do they feel it’s right for us to use our speed cameras to stop the vehicle crashes and fatalities?” he said, in response to finger-pointing by legislators.

“If they’re saying it’s not right because we haven’t heard from City Hall enough, something is wrong with that.”

Streetsblog first reported on Wednesday that “home rule” on the cams is off the table because there is not enough time in the 10 days left in the Albany session to get a required waiver passed by the City Council.

NY Democrats won’t let NYC control its traffic law cameras
Mayor Eric Adams said Albany has a responsibility to keep New York City safe no matter the quality of his administration’s lobbying efforts.
Gabriella Bass

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, who is leading the charge in the Legislature, told The Post he is “shifting focus” from home-rule legislation to a simple renewal of the camera program, which expires on July 1.

“I feel relatively confident, optimistic, I should say, that the cameras will not go dark, that they will be 24/7,” he said.

Critics of the mayor in Albany charge that he has waged a dysfunctional and ineffective campaign to get his agenda passed by the state on issues including cameras and mayoral control of schools.

Southern Brooklyn State Senator Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes says he is working on renewing the speed and red-light cameras program.

Others find fault with the premise that the city needs to get permission from Albany for such home-rule issues as the cameras as well as raising the cap on charter schools and mayoral control of the city’s public schools.

The DOT’s thousands of speed cameras have proven to reduce driver speeding, but are severely limited on when they can operate. The cameras must shut off from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and policymakers in Albany need to pass legislation authorizing their use.

Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez was in Albany Tuesday, which Gounardes said reflected increased focus from the Adams administration. Gounardes said he has tried to keep the mayor in the loop as to what remains possible before the annual session wraps up on June 2.

Speed camera
The cameras have been shown to reduce speeding.
Dennis A. Clark

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the mayor denied that his lobbying team was MIA.

“We will give you the breakdown on the engagement we did in the Assembly and in the Senate,” Adams said. “The records will show the engagement we had there.”