Two of Nassau County’s new school zone speed cameras are in operation in front of two Valley Stream elementary schools, prompting praise from some but also skepticism as to how far they’ll go in making those areas safer.
One was located near District 24’s Robert W. Carbonaro School at the intersection of Mill Road and Hungry Harbor Road. The second was placed near District 13’s Wheeler Avenue Elementary on Rockaway Parkway. Both are mobile units mounted on small vans that can be moved within each zone to monitor different areas.
“The whole goal of this is to keep our kids safe,” said Mayor Ed Fare. “I’m very concerned with the safety of our schools and the streets they’re on. I’m willing to try everything in order to keep those roads safe.”
The cameras are part of what the county is describing as a safety initiative. School 20-mile-per-hour zones with cameras are photo enforced between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on school days, with speeds more than 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit triggering a $50 fine plus a $30 surcharge, equal to those assessed by the red light camera program. Patrol officers can still ticket drivers for any speed above the posted limit.
The speed camera program is expected to generate up to $30 million in annual revenue for the county, according to official projections.
Cameras are also planned for District 30’s Shaw Avenue School and Central High School, and should be in place by the end of this year, according to the county. In total, 77 cameras will be installed countywide.
Judge John Marks, executive director of the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency, said those cameras would remain mobile for the foreseeable future due to the high traffic and concern from school administrators that multiple spots at these locations need to be monitored. “Some sites aren’t suitable for fixed units, and some school districts expressed concern in more than one location,” he said.
“The goal is to reduce excessive speeding in school zones to protect pedestrians, students and crossing guards,” Marks said. He said 14 of the 37 pedestrians killed on Nassau County’s streets in 2012 were walking within a quarter mile of a school.