Wednesday, February 25, 2015

NYC's Vision Zero speed cameras - lifesavers or moneymakers?

New York City officials are calling Vision Zero's speed camera program a big success, while some city drivers are calling out the cameras as money makers with no effect on pedestrian safety. According to NBC and WNYC, it looks like they're actually both.  Using speeding ticket data, WNYC was able to pinpoint the 51 speed cameras across the city (see map below) and found some interesting trends.

The top ticket issuer is a speed camera located on the Shore Parkway in Coney Island off the Belt Parkway.  It issued over $2.75 million in tickets last year - 100 times what ticket officers in that area's precinct wrote by hand.  WNYC found that "the three top-ticketing cameras were all just off major roadways: the Long Island Expressway, the Belt Parkway and the Staten Island Expressway. All were in places where pedestrians don’t cross, because there’s nothing to cross to. The roads have fences on one side, blocking off the highways."

However, the rest of the speed cameras were found to be in legitimate areas where pedestrians cross. There was also evidence that the number of tickets issued by each camera consistently decreased over time, suggesting drivers were finally slowing down. Accidents in camera areas also dropped by about 13%.

What do you think of the speed cameras?  Are they effective in achieving pedestrian safety or are there better methods that could be implemented instead?

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Will red curbs help cut parking confusion in NYC?

According to CBS, New York City Councilman Vincent Gentile has introduced a bill to paint the city's curbs red in No Parking zones at fire hydrants and bus stops to make them clearer for drivers. "New Yorkers usually don’t carry a tape measure with them to measure how far away they are from a hydrant or whether they’re within a bus stop,” Gentile said. “Why can’t we go back to what we used to have and revive the old system where you actually paint the curb by the fire hydrant or the bus stop, showing where you cannot park?”  

Gentile has not yet estimated the cost of the project.  The Department of Transportation says it will review proposal

What do you think about red painted curbs?  Beneficial to drivers or not worth the cost?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Vision Zero: One year later

NYC's Vision Zero - Mayor deBlasio's action plan to end traffic fatalities - has had some success in its first year, including reducing pedestrian fatalities from 180 in 2013 to 132 in 2014.  Along with lowering the city speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph, Vision Zero also added 120 speed cameras, widened pedestrian sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and neighborhood slow zones. The city tackled  a total of 50 dangerous intersections last year, and plans to improve another 50 this year, including Queens Boulevard, a notoriously dangerous street for pedestrians.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

NYPD slowdown ends; cost NYC $5 million in parking ticket revenue

ny city parking ticket slowdown

According to Slate, the alleged NYC ticket writing slowdown has come to an end and the city lost approximately $5 million in parking tickets alone.   This figure is only the estimate for parking tickets - it does not include the other areas where revenue was lost due to unwritten tickets, such as moving violations and petty crimes.  The City Comptroller's Office has not yet issued a statement on how much the city lost to the slowdown.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

NYC tickets down 92% in last week in apparent NYPD slowdown

According to the Daily News, tickets were down a whopping 92% last week in what appears to be an NYPD slowdown in protest of Mayor deBlasio.  While Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is reluctant to use the term 'slowdown,' he is meeting with others in the Department to "put together a comprehensive review of what has been happening over the last month."   

While the dramatic decrease in tickets and arrests occurred citywide, the biggest drop was in Brooklyn's 84th Precinct, which was the home precinct for murdered officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjlan Liu.  Just two tickets were written for moving violations last week.  No parking tickets or Criminal Court summonses were issued.

Bratton believes the numbers are part of the overall decrease in crime in NYC, rather than a rift between the NYPD and the mayor, but did vow to take action if there is evidence of an actual slowdown.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Monday, December 1, 2014

Staten Island residents oppose illegally parked speed camera truck

Photo courtesy of
Tri-State Transportation Campaign

Residents of Staten Island are opposing a new mobile speed camera truck located behind the Staten Island School of Civic Leadership on Goethals Road North, Graniteville because the vehicle is issuing tickets despite being parked in a No Standing Zone.  Although some of the tickets are being dismissed as a result, there is no agreement between city agencies on whether the camera's location is valid or not.  

According to, the zone actually became a 20mph zone in 2009.  The section of road is located right off the highway, so drivers must slow down from 50mph to the off-ramp to the school zone within 350 yards.  The DOT states that the school zone is a dangerous area with a long history of traffic related injuries.  Residents claim the new speed camera is nothing but a speed trap, claiming it's impossible to slow down in time when coming off the highway.  

Councilman Steven Matteo (R-Mid Island) is calling for all tickets from the mobile speed camera to be dismissed because the truck is often parked illegally.  "It does not help the confidence of my constituents when it looks like the city can play by one set of rules and them another," said Matteo in a statement.

The DOT, however, defends the truck's location. Under New York City Traffic Rules, section 4-02(d)(1)(ii), "traffic/parking control vehicles" are allowed to operate outside of traffic regulations.  "This camera is properly located," said a DOT spokesman in a statement.
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