Speed cameras coming to Coney Island school zones

More speed cameras are coming to Coney Island school zones.
File photo by Michael Shain

Coney Island speedsters will now have contend with a host of new traffic cameras being installed around the People’s Playground.

The city’s Department of Transportation is in the process of installing cameras throughout the area’s 13 school zones — which operate on weekdays between 6 am and 10 pm — in an effort to better protect Coney Island students.

The cameras will be strategically erected throughout a quarter-mile radius around the neighborhood’s school buildings, and will result in $50 fines by mail for offenders caught driving above 35-miles-per-hour — 10 more than the city speed limit. 

The Department of Transportation did not reveal the number of speed cameras coming to America’s Playground, but they were given the green light to install 2,200 speed cameras within 750 school zones across the five boroughs — enough for about three per school zone — when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a speed camera bill in May. 

That law — which was authored by local state Sen. Andrew Gounardes — expanded the number of school zones where speed cameras could operate from 140 to 750, extended the hours they could operate, and widened the geographic limits around those school buildings.

Transit reps presented their scheme to civic gurus from Community Board 13 on Nov. 14, when some locals expressed concern over the new technology inundating the area — singling out an area where the department plans to erect two cameras along the same stretch of Neptune Avenue.

“Don’t you think that is a little unfair to the community that you have two within a two-block distance,” said Lucy Acevedo.

But transportation official Ronda Messer assured board members that the locations were identified using an algorithm that cross-referenced crash data with speeding. 

Other civic buffs demanded that the Transportation Department foot the bill for new road safety infrastructure that will complement the influx of speed-enforcement cameras, and District Manager Eddie Mark proposed placing speed warning sign ahead of the two cameras on Neptune Avenue to further incentivize motorists to slow down. 

“And then if they don’t slow down, you know what,” said Mark. “You got a ticket.” 

Craig Hammerman — the former Park Slope civic guru turned south Brooklyn transportation advocate — criticized the enforcement approach to changing driving behavior, and instead promoted road design concepts in order to deter drivers from speeding. 

“In the school zones, are there opportunities for things like speed humps or curb extensions or other things that would naturally slow the speed of drivers,” he said. “Have those things been looked at?” 

A Brooklyn-based traffic attorney called the speed camera program a procedural moneymaker for the city, as the $50 tickets didn’t present enough monetary fines for a violator to fight it.

“I’m a traffic attorney and I don’t fight them when I get them,” James Medows said. “It’s just the cost of doing business in New York City.”

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