According to the DOT, in 2012 there were 274 traffic deaths in the city—148 pedestrians (up from 141 the year before), 18 cyclists (down from 22), 35 motorcyclists (up from 32), and 73 motor vehicle occupants (up from 50). And those motor vehicle deaths (the highest since 2008's body count of 76) has the DOT calling for slower streets. Specifically, streets slowed down by speed cameras. Lots and lots of speed cameras.
Using the new stats, the DOT is pushing for the state to allow the city to use speed cameras (as opposed to the already deployed, and arguably quite effective, red-light cameras). The DOT especially wants the cameras installed near city schools. "One thousand New Yorkers are alive today who would not be if we simply sustained the city’s fatality rate just one decade ago," Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said announcing the DOT's new push. "We have to do more. The streets around our city’s schools are the real speed traps, and we can’t play it safe when it comes to doing everything we can to protect New Yorkers on our streets—and especially seniors and school kids."
The plan has already gotten some fans, like Transportation Alternatives' Paul Steely White, who says, "Speeding drivers are the number one cause of fatal crashes in New York City, killing more people than drunk drivers and distracted drivers combined. The State Government must allow the City to install speed cameras to keep New Yorkers safe from drivers who disregard the law." But it also has some big detractors.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, for instance, on Friday announced it is "urging lawmakers to reject the legislation pushed by the Bloomberg administration for the new devices." After all, according to PBA President Patrick Lynch, "Speed cameras are no substitute for live policing." Which may be true. But with cops like these...
Still, it should be noted that while the PBA is against speed cameras, the head of the NYPD is not. "Just as red light cameras reduced infractions at intersections where they were installed, we anticipate that speed cameras will result in greater compliance with posted speed limits," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said of the idea.