NY Democrats won’t let NYC control its traffic rights cameras

The Democrat-controlled Albany Legislature will not give New York City the power to regulate its automatic speed and red light cameras this year, and Mayor Eric Adams blames heads of state.

Adams, responding in part to the Post’s coverage that his administration had been engaging in lackluster lobbying on speed cameras and other priorities in Albany, said Thursday that state legislatures also have a duty to keep New Yorkers safe.

“The real question shouldn’t be [if] we tell them whether to do it or not, [but] believe that this is the right thing. Do you think it’s right that we use our speed cameras to stop vehicle accidents and deaths?” he said in response to pointers from lawmakers.

“If they say it’s not right because we haven’t heard enough from City Hall, then something is wrong.”

Streetsblog first reported on Wednesday that home rule is off the table on cameras because there is not enough time in the Albany session in the remaining 10 days for a required waiver to pass from the city council.

Mayor Eric Adams
Mayor Eric Adams said Albany has a responsibility to keep New York City safe regardless of the quality of his government’s lobbying.
Gabriella Bass

State Senator Andrew Gounardes, who leads the impeachment in the Legislature, told The Post he is shifting the focus from Home Rule legislation to a simple renewal of the camera program, which expires on July 1.

“I’m relatively confident, optimistic, I should say the cameras won’t go dark, they’ll be on 24/7,” he said.

Critics of the Albany mayor have accused him of waging a dysfunctional and ineffective campaign to push his agenda on issues like cameras and mayoral control of schools from the state.

Andrew Gounardes, South Brooklyn State Senator
State Senator Andrew Gounardes says he is working on overhauling the speed and red light camera program.

Others have criticized the premise that the city must seek Albany’s permission for housekeeping matters like the cameras, as well as raising the charter school cap and mayoral control of the city’s public schools.

The DOT’s thousands of speed cameras have proven to reduce the speed of drivers, but are severely limited in when they can operate. The cameras must be turned off from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and Albany policymakers must pass legislation allowing their use.

Transport Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez was in Albany on Tuesday, which Gounardes said reflected the Adams government’s increased focus. Gounardes said he was trying to update the mayor on what is still possible before the annual session ends on June 2.

speed camera
The cameras have been shown to reduce speeding.
Dennis A Clark

Speaking to reporters Thursday, the mayor denied that his lobbying team was MIA.

“We’re going to give you the breakdown of our engagement in the Assembly and the Senate,” Adams said. “The records will show the commitment we had there.” NY Democrats won’t let NYC control its traffic rights cameras


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