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De Blasio, Peralta, in Astoria call for additional speed cameras in school-zones after failed state bill

Senator Jose Peralta pushing for the expanded use of speed cameras at an event near William Cullen Bryant High School in Astoria, Queens. July 21, 2017.

July 22, 2017 By Nathaly Pesantez

Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing for more speed cameras to be installed in school zones and other high-traffic streets in Queens and in the city.

The mayor was joined by State Senator Jose Peralta and other local leaders near William Cullen Bryant High School in Astoria yesterday to discuss efforts in expanding the speed-camera program.

City leaders have been frustrated that they can’t add more speed cameras in school zones since the number is controlled by Albany.

State law only allows speed cameras to be installed within a quarter-mile of a school and has capped the number at 140. A bill that aimed to increase the number to 750 and allow them to be installed on streets within half a mile of schools was introduced in May by Senator Peralta, but failed to make it to the Senate floor for a vote.

“We still don’t have what we need, which is a state law that allows us to implement as many speed cameras as necessary,” de Blasio said. “Right now state law prohibits us from placing speed cameras near our schools.

“Speed cameras save lives,” Peralta said. “We have 140 speeding cameras installed in school zones throughout the city, but we need more.”

The mayor and local officials are also pushing for speed cameras to be in use for longer periods of time. Currently, they are only allowed to operate during school hours.

A speed camera pilot program took effect in 2013, with 20 cameras, and was expanded in 2014 to 140 school zones.

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