Manhattan Borough Board Endorses Speed Enforcement Cameras

When Scottsdale, Arizona's speeding cameras were temporarily not being used for enforcement, the number of speeders jumped by over 1,000 percent. Image: John Petrozza.
When Scottsdale, Arizona's speeding cameras were temporarily not being used for enforcement, the number of speeders jumped by over 1,000 percent. Image: John Petrozza

The Manhattan Borough Board passed a resolution last Thursday endorsing the use of automated cameras to catch speeding drivers. Earning the support of 10 Manhattan community boards and four City Council members — with no votes in opposition — the resolution was a strong show of support for better traffic enforcement on New York City streets.

As the borough board notes in the resolution, if a driver hits a pedestrian at 40 mph, the victim has a 70 percent chance of being killed, but is someone is struck at 30 mph, she has an 80 percent chance of surviving. With the NYPD stretched thin, camera enforcement is a proven way of consistently enforcing the speed limit.

The only Manhattan community board to abstain on Thursday was CB 9. All the others voted in support of the resolution (CB 3 was absent from the borough board meeting, but had previously voted in support of speeding cameras, according to Transportation Alternatives Safety Campaign Director Lindsey Ganson). No council members voted against or abstained from the resolution. The four voting members with representatives in attendance — Dan Garodnick, Jessica Lappin, Gale Brewer, and Robert Jackson — all voted in favor of the resolution.

Ganson singled out Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for his influence in getting the borough board resolution passed. “Having his leadership really made all the difference,” she said. Stringer is a long-time supporter of stepped-up speeding enforcement, including through the use of cameras.

Outside Manhattan, Ganson said that the speed camera legislation has earned endorsements from Brooklyn CBs 7 and 9, Queens CB 8, Staten Island CB 2, and from committees at Bronx CB 4 and Staten Island CB 1.

These local shows of support could build momentum in Albany for legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Deborah Glick authorizing the use of speeding cameras, which is necessary for the city to install them, Ganson said. “Having both the borough board resolution and resolutions from individual community boards makes a huge difference when you have a meeting with a state senator or state assembly member,” she said. “It shows them that people in their own district, at the most local level of representation, support this.”

The text of the resolution and the roll call vote are available in full below:


WHEREAS, the Manhattan Borough Board is deeply concerned about speed-related roadway deaths and injuries which resulted in the death of 63 people and the injury of 2,150 people in 2009; and

WHEREAS, pedestrians and cyclists are at a heightened risk of injury in speed-related crashes: if a pedestrian is hit by a car at 40 mph there is an 70% chance the pedestrian will be killed, but if a driver strikes a pedestrian at 30 mph there is an 80% chance the pedestrian will survive; and

WHEREAS, speeding is the number one cause of deadly crashes in New York City, claiming more lives than drunken driving and distracted driving combined; and

WHEREAS, in 2009, 170 cyclists and pedestrians were killed on New York City’s roads; and

WHEREAS, law enforcement agencies, with increasing responsibility and without commensurate increases in staffing levels, are considering technologies to improve their efficiency; and

WHEREAS, “automated speed enforcement cameras,” when used in conjunction with traditional means of traffic enforcement and public education complement law enforcement’s traffic safety efforts and enforcement programs; and

WHEREAS, automated speed enforcement cameras have been shown to reduce all crashes by 14-72% and injuries and fatalities by 40-45%; and

WHEREAS, the New York State Senate and Assembly will introduce legislation, which would authorize the City of New York to use camera technology to enforce existing speed limits and support the efforts of the NYPD;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Manhattan Borough Board supports the use of “automated speed enforcement cameras” and calls on the respective houses to pass this legislation and for the Governor to sign it; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Manhattan Borough Board urges the New York City Council and the Mayor to fully support this legislation.

CB 1 – Yes
CB 2 – Yes
CB 3 – Absent
CB 4 – Yes
CB 5 – Yes
CB 6 – Yes
CB 7 – Yes
CB 8 – Yes
CB 9 – Abstain
CB 10 – Yes
CB 11 – Yes
CB 12 – Yes

Councilmember Chin – Absent
Speaker Quinn – Abstain
Councilmember Mendez – Absent
Councilmember Garodnick – Yes
Councilmember Lappin – Yes
Councilmember Brewer – Yes
Councilmember Jackson – Yes
Councilmember Mark-Viverito – Absent
Councilmember Dickens – Absent
Councilmember Rodriguez – Absent

Borough President Stringer – Yes