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Cameras for school speed zones

Bronx Times

Speed freaks better think twice about zooming past a school zone.

Twelve Bronx schools that deal with heavy-footed motorists are now eligible for the city’s first-ever speed cameras as part of a five-year pilot program approved by the State legislature.

The mobile cameras - clicking evidence for hefty speeding fines - will be affixed to a post along problematic school zones chosen by city transportation officials through a field study measuring how fast motorists generally travel within a speed zone. The cameras will rotate among different schools on a regular basis.

Cameras will take a picture of speeder’s license plate number as it zips above the posted speed limit. A ticket with a hefty fine will be sent to the vehicle’s owner.

“Speed cameras will be a big safety plus for our schools,” Bloomberg, flanked by officials including state Sen. Jeff Klein, who was prime sponsor of the legislation, said Tuesday, June 25 outside P.S. 81 in Riverdale.

Klein, Senate co-leader with Republicans, and head of the Independent Democratic Conference, lobbied the legislature to pass the measure authorizing the city to implement the program.

The review, released in March this year, identified twelve Bronx grammar/middle schools in line at some point to have the cameras posted. They are:

P.S. 81 Robert J. Christen - 5550 Riverdale Avenue - Riverdale

P.S. 69 The New Vision School - 560 Theriot Avenue - Soundview

JHS 144 Michelangelo School - 2545 Gunther Avenue - Allerton

Bronx Community Charter School - 2348 Webster Avenue - Fordham Heights/Belmont

P.S. 159 Luis Munoz Marin Biling - 2315 Washington Ave - Fordham Heights/Belmont

P.S. 163 Arthur A. Schomburg School - 2075 Webster Ave - Fordham Heights/Belmont

P.S. 209 - 313 East 183rd Street - Fordham

P.S. 23 The New Children’s School - 2151 Washington Ave - Belmont

P.S. 59 The Community School of Technology - Fordham Heights/Belmont

Ryer Avenue Elementary School - 230 E 183rd St - Fordham Heights/Belmont

The Angelo Patri School and Theatre Arts Production Company - 2225 Webster Avenue - Fordham/Belmont

While Transportation officials have yet to reveal the official list of 20 schools poised to receive cameras, they did reveal P.S. 81 Robert J. Christen school as being one of the first.

Officials based their decision after the Riverdale school ranked as the most notorious school zone dealing with speeders.

Principal Anna Kirrane welcomed the program, calling it a major deterrent to speeders in the area, who’ve been known to hit speeds of up to 40-to-50 mph.

“People don’t want to break the law if they’re held accountable,” Kirrane said.

But the bulk of the schools targeted for camera relief sit within the Fordham Heights/Belmont area, thoroughly congested by drivers.

The pilot program works similar to the city’s red light cameras, which take a photo of vehicle license plates on cars running red lights.

“The record shows there’s been a 56% decline in serious injuries and a 44% drop in pedestrian injuries at our 150 red light camera locations,” said Bloomberg.

The decision to legally implement the program rested with the state legislature. Wrangling from police unions and political wrangling kept the proposal in limbo for nearly a decade.

“It was a compelling case,” said Klein, who helped push the bill through the legislature in the final days of the Albany session. Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the measure shortly.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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