Assemblymember Michael Reilly (R-South Shore) submitted today three Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to the Records Officers at the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Department of Transportation. Reilly's requests pertain to the city's school zone speed camera program, which was recently expanded by the State Legislature to permit the use of 750 mobile and stationary speed camera units throughout the city; however, city officials including de Blasio and his Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg have already announced their intention of installing 2,000 camera units throughout the city by the end of next year.
Using New York Freedom of Information Law, Public Officers Law Article 6, Reilly is requesting to obtain the following:
- All inter-agency and intra-agency (city, state, federal) communications (emails, text messages, written letters, memoranda) pertaining to New York City's school zone speed camera program currently, in addition to all similar communications pertaining to the future of the program.
- Information about the total number of mobile and stationary speed cameras installed, by borough and by zip code.
- Information about the specific location of each camera placement currently and in the future, by borough and zip code.
In accordance with the law, the agency must respond within five business days of receiving the request; however, they may request additional time in some cases.
In a recent letter to de Blasio, Trottenberg and others, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James, Reilly blasted the city for their egregious interpretation of the law which permitted the expansion of the speed camera program. He contested that the language only permits the city to use mobile and speed camera units in up to 750 school zones - meaning one camera per school zone. Reilly cited New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law 1180(b) which states that a "school speed zone" shall mean a radial distance of 1,320 feet from a school building. This means that one camera is equivalent to one school speed zone and the city is therefore limited to 750 camera units, not 2,000.
Reilly threatened that legal action would be taken against the city if they follow through with their plan to install 2,000 cameras.
"I am already considering our options legally and the filing of these requests is surely an important part of that process," said Reilly. "The information we could potentially obtain as a result may reveal that city officials are intentionally planning to break the law by installing all of those additional speed cameras."
Reilly continued, "If the city has nothing to hide then the information should be shared with me soon, but even then, they are eventually going to have to answer for their either intentional or accidental interpretation of the law. If a battle in court is what they want though, then they're going to get it."
Copies of all three foil requests can be found at www.bit.ly/2JOt22K.