Speeding is one crime that does pay — the city, that is.
A Sheepshead Bay speed camera that was installed last July has issued nearly 50,000 tickets in the past six months, generating about $2.4 million for the city in 2014, according to statistics obtained by this paper from the Department of Transportation.
The controversial camera — which is near a fenced-off location by Abraham Lincoln High School — is at the Belt Parkway exit ramp on the Shore Parkway near Ocean Avenue. The department said the camera is part of Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities, especially near schools. But an elected official who has been fighting the camera’s placement for months said the camera serves no public-safety purpose and is simply a speed trap.
“There are no children crossing there,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay). “If you cross the street, you end up on the parkway.”
The department said that from 2009 to 2013, 242 residents were injured by vehicles within a quarter-mile of the speed camera — 43 were pedestrians, 16 were bicyclists, and 183 were in motor vehicles.
But Deutsch said the camera’s placement could actually increase accident statistics because drivers may be more interested in safeguarding their money than their vehicles.
“When someone comes off the ramp and they realize there is a camera there, they could step on the brakes and that could cause an accident,” he said.
Deutsch believes the camera would be better placed near Ocean Parkway, where there are a lot pedestrians, rather than the isolated stretch where it is now.
“It is not the right place for it to be,” he said.
The peak time for the ticket blitz was at the start of the school year — with 14,535 tickets issued in September and 14,604 in October. Tickets dropped precipitously after that, with 6,350 violations issued in November, and 5,586 in December.
Each ticket runs $50, but the department said not all drivers pay their fines. The Department of Finance did not respond to a request for comment on how many tickets were actually paid.