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Council Must Take Time Deliberating On School Speed Zone Camera Proposal

Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, has greatly improved on a proposal to implement school speed zone cameras in Jamestown.

Among the improvements Goodell has made since the legislation was forwarded to him from the city are getting rid of a provision that would have sent tickets only after a driver was caught driving 30 miles an hour in a 20-mile-an-hour school zone, increased due process for vehicle owners who aren’t actually driving the vehicle caught speeding by the camera system, and approving the camera system for only three years and tying its existence to the filing of required reports to the state by the city.

It’s a better bill, but we still wonder if it should be passed?

The ball is back in the City Council’s court. The city legislative body has to submit a home rule request for the changed legislation to be introduced on the Assembly floor and begin the process of state approval.

We caution city officials to look at Buffalo, whose Common Council has approved ending that city’s school zone speed camera program after a boatload of issues ranging from tickets arriving too late, people being ticketed when the camera system isn’t supposed to be functioning and complaints from some neighborhoods that low-income, minority drivers are being targeted by the locations of some of the cameras. Many Buffalo Common Council members have been unhappy with Sensys Gatso, the company running the program and the same company proposed to run Jamestown’s program.

In our opinion, the speed camera system hasn’t been well justified by the number of incidents in school zones nor by simply observing drivers’ behaviors when schoolchildren are coming to and leaving school. In our opinion, it’s a blatant money grab that outsources police enforcement of our neighborhoods to technology. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Jamestown City Council members should deliberate carefully on this bill.

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