Traffic cameras introduced to promote safer driving

The city announced on Tuesday that it would be installing the first new traffic cameras near PS 95 in the Bronx as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recently implemented campaign, Vision Zero. The cameras were paid for in part by a $25 million grant given to the Vision Zero project by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which was also announced the same day.

De Blasio’s initiative aims to  hold drivers accountable for vehicular accidents. In a letter from the mayor, de Blasio said greater accountability is needed when it comes to car accidents. 

“The fundamental message of Vision Zero is that death and injury on city streets is not acceptable, and that we will no longer regard serious crashes as inevitable,” de Blasio said. “Speeding is the leading cause of traffic fatalities in New York, so we have to go to the heart of the matter.”

A spokesman from the mayor’s office said de Blasio’s close work with the department is making the crosswalks safer.

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“The mayor has been working very closely with the Department of Transportation for Vision Zero,” the spokesman said said. “Pedestrian and cycling fatalities have drastically decreased in New York City.”

CAS sophomore Justine Kim said de Blasio’s initiative will help prevent dangerous situations in the future.

“I’m glad that New York City is making an effort to make it safer for pedestrians and bikers, considering that is how most of New York City gets around,” Kim said. “I was walking to class once and almost got hit because a taxi driver refused to slow down until the very end.”

Manhattan resident William Penney, 25, said new speed cameras will help reduce car accidents in New York, but not eliminate them.

“It seems like almost every day that I come close to being hit by a car in the city, and it always seems to be a car or taxi speeding in order to make a red light,” Penney said. “I always think driving in the city will be crazy, but I think these cameras could definitely help improve pedestrian safety.”

Stern freshman Carina Escobar questioned the potential effectiveness of the cameras, saying the manner in which people drive is the real problem.

“I don’t think these speed cameras will make too much of a difference in the safety of pedestrians and bikers,” Escobar said. “It’s not so much the speed at which they are going at that makes them dangerous. It’s the way they drive when they turn corners or try to turn into a street only to be blocked by crowds of pedestrians.”

Tisch freshman Alex Lu said pedestrians need to be more mindful of their surroundings when crossing the street.

“I think speed cameras are a step in the right direction, teaching people what they can and can’t get away with,” Lu said. “I think students, pedestrians and cyclists simply need to be more careful because in this city, everyone’s in a rush to get somewhere.”

A version of this appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 11 print edition. Email Alanna Bayarin at [email protected]

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