Lentol pushes for more cameras to catch speeding drivers

Calling Brooklyn “the perfect testing ground for traffic-calming measures,” Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D-North Brooklyn) is pushing for more cameras to be placed at the borough’s intersections to catch drivers who speed.

As a start, Lentol called for a pilot program to be introduced on McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint, which he labeled as one of the most dangerous streets in the city. This program would involve the installation of cameras designed to record speeding cars.

“New traffic-controlling measures must be introduced in New York City to combat the overwhelming amount of speeding that takes place along our thoroughfares every day. As speeding continues and population rises, the likelihood of death increases exponentially,” Lentol said.

Lentol cited the results of a study released by Transportation Alternatives and the McGuinness Boulevard Working Group that found that more than 66 percent of drivers traveling on McGuinness Boulevard exceed the speed limit. The study also found that from 2005 to 2009, there were 57 vehicle crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians, resulting in four deaths.

“The street was originally named Oakland Street, and then in the 1950s the name was changed to McGuinness Boulevard. The demolition of 87 buildings along McGuinness Boulevard occurred in 1959 to begin the process of widening the route to a four-lane street,” Lentol said. “This four-lane thoroughfare that stretches through the heart of Greenpoint from the Pulaski Bridge to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) has allowed motorists for the past five decades to easily commute through Brooklyn. Yet, as a connection to a regularly utilized highway, it has created a habitat for speeding,” he said.

McGuinness Boulevard isn’t the only roadway that is notorious as a speedway in Brooklyn, according to Lentol, who said a report by the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project studied Park Avenue in Brooklyn and came up with troubling conclusions.

The avenue, which runs beneath the BQE, has become an alternative for motorists attempting to avoid traffic congestion on the highway, he said. Many motorists speed as they drive along Park Avenue, he added.

“The introduction of speed cameras along Park Avenue, similarl to McGuinness Boulevard, would serve as an efficient means of reducing the safety risks of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists,” Lentol said.

“Many who criticize the introduction of speed cameras cite their cost, the resulting restrictions on traffic mobility and the fear that speed cameras will be abused by the police and the city, while many in support describe the possible revenue stream from ticketing.

"However, this issue is not solely about generating revenue. It is about saving human life,” Lentol said.