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Nassau lawmaker says 'enough' with school speed cameras

Nassau Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) on Aug. 31,

Nassau Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) on Aug. 31, 2011. Credit: Steven Sunshine

Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) says she has had it with the county’s school speed camera program.

Jacobs said she has constituents who have received four to ten $80 tickets from the program that catches drivers on camera speeding through school zones. The county is counting on receiving  $30 million annually from the program that is outraging motorists. To collect that kind of revenue, Nassau would have to ticket nearly 500,000 motorists, nearly half the electorate.

“Enough is enough,” Jacobs wrote to County Executive Edward Mangano and two traffic aides on Monday. “I am writing ... out of sheer frustration on the slow improvements, if any, that you are making to the speed camera situation.”

She said the county continues to roll out new cameras in spots where there is not clear and sufficient signs warning motorists of the school speed zone nor blinking lights to alert motorists when the lower school speed limit is in effect.

“It is time to stop putting new ones in, until you, at the very least put the signs and lights where they are already and, certainly with the installation of new ones popping up,” she wrote.

The county plans to have a speed camera active in every school district in Nassau.

Brian Nevin, a Mangano spokesman said, "I'm baffled at Judy Jacobs position as she voted in favor of school speed cameras yet against funding for flashing lights to warn motorists.  Judy will have an opportunity again this month to support the purchase of flashing lights and we hope she uses her position to garner support among her colleagues."

Jacobs retorted that she was equally "baffled" by Nevin's response. The administration had assured county lawmakers that proper signage and blinking lights would be installed with every speed camera.

"They're making a fortune on this," she said. "Now you're going to further insult the taxpayers", she said, by asking the legislature to borrow $6.5 million to pay for proper installation.

"I voted for it, but I voted for it under the impression it would be done right," Jacobs said.                                            

In her letter, Jacobs also complained that Plainview, which is in her district, “has been inundated. You have a speed camera on Woodbury Road at Baylis School. The school may be in the Syosset School District but Plainview surrounds the school on the south side, Parkway School is in Plainview on Manetto Hill Road, just over a hill over the Northern State Parkway, creating an unfair approach to the camera.

"And, Our Lady of Mercy School on South Oyster Bay Road may physically be stationed in the Hicksville School District but Plainview is right across the street where the camera is. To make matters worse, unbelievably, you had a mobile unit on Washington Avenue near Matlin Junior High School the other day. Can you blame Plainview residents and, by the way, Woodbury residents, south of Jericho Turnpike, feeling singled out????”

She added in capital letters: "OUR CONSTITUENTS DESERVE BETTER, AND I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THIS 'ALL TALK AND NO ACTION" MENTALITY'.”

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