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GOP state senator says school speed cameras 'rolled out poorly'

A speed limit sign is seen along Stewart

A speed limit sign is seen along Stewart Avenue in Bethpage on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. Credit: Jeremy Bales

State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) is backing away from Nassau’s much-criticized speed cameras even though he voted in favor of legislation allowing the county to catch drivers on camera speeding through school zones.

Motorists have reported getting multiple $80 tickets because they say they didn’t know they were driving in a speed zone. County Executive Edward Mangano, a Republican, expects to collect $30 million in revenues from the program next year. More than $1.4 million in revenues from the speed camera program has been posted on Nassau's Integrated Financial System, according to a screenshot of the county's internal accounting system, provided to Newsday by a county official.

“We’re getting a lot of different calls,” Hannon acknowledged this week. “If I had to see that legislation again, I would make sure there were appropriate conditions and rules made evident.”

Hannon said the uneven rollout of the program “has caused a great deal of anxiety and resentment. The implementation has not been well done.”

Hannon noted that there is supposed to be a flashing light and sign at the beginning of the speed camera zone but his constituents have told him there was no flashing light “and they still got a ticket.”

Another constituent complained that he made a right turn off one road into the middle of a speed camera zone and got a ticket even though there was no sign after the turn alerting him to the school zone.

“There needs to be a clearer set of rules and there needs to be something about the uniformity of the speed,” Hannon said. He noted that some school speed limits are 15 mph, some 20 mph, some 25 mph and some 30 mph.

“The first time I realized it was being rolled out poorly was when somebody went past the school that his children attend and he got a ticket. His children were home so he knew there was no school”  during the summer.  Hannon said that when his office inquired, the county said there was a special ed session of about 10 students going on.

“That causes such a lack of confidence,” Hannon said

One of Hannon’s constituents posted on the “Plainview Dads and Moms” Facebook page, “What to do about those school zone speed violations???  Here’s NY State Senator Kemp Hannon’s advice at tonight’s Meet the Candidates session at the Plainview Jewish Center: Send the violations to your county legislator, ask for the fine to be waived and the cameras to be turned off until such time as a proper system warning of the approaching speed zone is installed.”

Hannon responded, “That’s not a bad summary” of his comments.

However, County Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) posted on the same Facebook page: “Sending violations to me is the worst thing you can do to yourself. I say that because...I can’t make a violation disappear or stop the program. What I have done is contact the County Executive requesting that he immediately stop the program until the proper warnings are in place.”

She suggested emailing Mangano at emangano@nassaucountyny.gov.

Hannon noted that Democrats also voted in favor of the speed camera program.

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