Live, work in a city filled with radars that never sleep? | The Riverdale press

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By SARAH BELLE LIN

Technology is a tool that many use to improve their lives. But what happens when even these divine powers of the digital age reveal blind spots?

It’s no secret that cameras designed to capture motorists accelerating simply can’t capture everything. Especially when their working days are limited only when school is usually in session.

So, the city has set a goal of activating the switch 24/7, and with it, the renewed hope is that fast and furious drivers will be held accountable, and more importantly, more lives are saved.

Speed ​​cameras began appearing in nearly two dozen school zones in 2013. The following year, 120 more zones were added across the city – selected for their relatively higher propensity to be speeding and speeding. serious accidents involving pedestrians.

Clock cameras and cameras typically capture speeders’ license plates only on weekdays, between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. are here.

The penalties imposed by speed cameras are very different from tickets issued by a police officer in uniform. While fines can range from $ 90 to $ 600 – with an additional surcharge of $ 88 – tickets issued by police are considered moving offenses, can cost you more in up-front fines and threaten your life. driving license if you accumulate too many offenses in a short period of time. period of time.

Drivers are only issued speeding tickets when driving 10 mph above the posted speed limit.

Still, speed camera advocates say they are a powerful deterrent against speeding and other reckless driving in these neighborhoods. At least when they’re on.

This part of the Bronx already has a number of cameras, thanks to long-standing support for the program from MP Jeffrey Dinowitz and former city councilor Andrew Cohen. Cameras already exist at West 256th Street and Riverdale Avenue as well as just two blocks from West 258th Street.

Other radars capture license plates at Sedgwick Avenue near PS / MS 95 Sheila Mencher, on Kingsbridge Avenue near PS 7 Milton Fein School, and at West 230th Street and Riverdale Avenue near IN-Tech Academy as well as the Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy, and Marble Hill International Studies High School.

In fact, the city’s transport service says there are already more than 1,600 cameras in school speed zones in the five boroughs. And there are plans add dozens more each month until 2,220 are operational by next year.

But do cameras really help?

DOT says yes. At least last December, when authorities found that speeding in areas where there are fixed cameras decreased on average by more than 70%.

The zones without radars ended in accidents which left 138 dead and 44,220 injured during the 2019 study period. In contrast, the zones equipped with radars recorded only 40 deaths and just under 12,000. wounded.

Some of the most spectacular results have taken place on two of the Bronx’s main thoroughfares – Gun Hill Road and the Grand Concourse. There, speeding has dropped between 85% and 89% where speed cameras are present.

“It’s huge, if it works,” said Dale Wolff, a local advocate for safer streets. “If a lot of trouble occurs at night, then having (cameras) 24/7 is a worthwhile endeavor for a trial period of a few months to a year. If it turns out they’re not catching anyone, it could be a waste.

Still, if that happens, he’ll need help from lawmakers in Albany. Like, say, Brooklyn State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Lower Manhattan MP Deborah Glick, who have complementary bills in both houses to keep speed cameras running around the clock, and even escalating fines. for vehicles which have been found to be driven by habitual speeding tickets.

City Councilor Eric Dinowitz says he’s behind keeping speed cameras on all the time, citing how fatal traffic accidents between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. have been nearly halved so far this year .

“It is also important to recognize that the danger of speeding exists outside of school speed zones,” the city councilor said in a statement. “Seniors have the highest traffic fatality rate of any other age group. “

Dinowitz suggested that speed cameras be installed near senior centers and retirement communities like Knolls Crescent, where pedestrians are more likely to be injured or even killed.

Wolff points out another key difference between a camera and a cop issuing often overlooked speeding tickets: The images captured do not show who a driver is.

“So you constrain the car, but the driver may not be the owner of the car,” she said.

“This is my problem with the radars. But if they have been shown to work, then my argument is moot.

Cameras are just one of the DOT’s efforts to reduce traffic accidents, speed-related injuries and fatalities. The department is also relying on traffic calming measures such as speed bumps and signal reprogramming, as well as targeted enforcement efforts by the New York Police Department.

Like many drivers, Wolff understands why certain traffic control devices like speed bumps exist.

“Speed ​​bumps slow me down, but dragsters don’t care,” Wolff said.

It’s worse, in his eyes, around Kappock Street and Johnson Avenue in Spuyten Duyvil.

“Constant traffic there – cars, buses and trucks,” Wolff said of the neighborhood. “We stood at various corners and watched people pass the stop signs. There (are) no traffic lights there.


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