School zone speed cameras will be back in Queens just in time for the beginning of classes

Screenshot of Governor Cuomo's speed camera press conference.

Speed cameras across Queens will be active once again in school zones come September.

On Aug. 26, the City Council made a deal with the mayor and the governor to reinstate the speed camera program that went dark on July 25, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a 30-day emergency executive order that allows speed cameras to be reinstalled in school zones. The order will pass through the City Council, who are expected to vote in favor of the legislation on Wednesday. Following the Council meeting, Mayor Bill de Blasio will sign the order into law before school goes back in session.

“Speed cameras save lives; it is unequivocal when you look at the data since the speed cameras were put in place,” said Cuomo at a press conference on Aug. 27. “Before speed cameras, 18 children were killed per year. That went down to eight children [after speed cameras] — that’s 10 children’s lives that were saved by the speed cameras.”

The governor was joined by Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Amy Cohen, a co-founder for the group Families for Safe Streets and mother of 12-year-old Sammy Cohen who was killed in a car crash in 2013.

Senator Jose Peralta released a statement praising the efforts to reinstate speed cameras. The Queens senator had been pushing for the renewal and expansion of the program, which would add an additional 150 cameras to the existing 140 that have been in place since 2014.

“I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership on this issue and for signing this executive order to ensure that when school starts next Wednesday, we’ll have speed cameras back on our streets,” Peralta said. “It’s been proven over and over again that speed cameras are one of the most important and effective tools we have available to slow down drivers and keep our kids safe on our streets. That’s why I continue to call on the Senate to return to Albany so that we can pass legislation that I’ve introduced to expand the speed camera program and once again codify their use.”

Politicians and advocates had criticized Senate Republicans such as Majority Leader John Flanagan for “playing politics” with the speed camera issue. But Candace Giove, a Senate GOP spokeswoman said that the Majority has been in support of the speed camera program.

“We have said all along that our Majority supports extending this program to keep speed cameras on. In fact, we’d even consider codifying the governor’s executive order into law. The real question is will the Assembly join us,” said Giove in a statement.

The state Assembly, which has a Democratic majority, approved the passage of the speed camera bill during their legislative session in Albany.

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