Advocates demand more Vision Zero speed cameras near NYC schools

NEW YORK — Deaths due to car crashes have been steadily declining since the start of the Vision Zero program in 2014, but more than 200 people are dying on city streets every year in crashes that some insist can be prevented. Now, local advocates are focusing on getting speed cameras near schools.

Amy Cohen and Judy Kottick met with PIX11 reporter Kirstin Cole, standing side by side, each holding a picture of their child, who was killed in a crash. They are calling for safer streets by insisting drivers be forced to slow down using tools already available.

“We want 150 more speed cameras immediately to protect children in school zones,” Kottick said.

During their advocacy, the woman have teamed up with Transportation Alternatives and their own radar devices, recording excessive speed — evidence to lawmakers to demand change.

They found as children showed up for school along Coney Island Avenue, that 50 percent of vehicles were going above the speed limit, and 10 percent were going 11 mph or more. With a speed camera in place, officials say that would have earned drivers a ticket.

Andrew Gounardes, who is running for State Senate, tells PIX11 these cameras are effective.

"Cameras reduce speeding by nearly 61 percent, and most people who get caught by a camera, 81 percent, don’t speed again.  So it's really effective in curbing the speed on our streets," Gounardes said.

Why then are speed cameras not installed at most NYC schools?

“Only 7 percent of schools in New York City have speed cameras.  And my question is, are they the only valuable children in our city?" Bay Ridge resident Stefania Vasquez asked.