A DOT speed-enforcement camera sits at this location, fining people who fail to slow down after exiting the highway. (Source: Google Maps)

A DOT speed-enforcement camera sits at this location, fining people who fail to slow down after exiting the highway. (Source: Google Maps)

A Department of Transportation spokesperson refuted Councilman Chaim Deutsch’s claim that a local speed enforcement camera gave out 6,000 violations in a single day. But in a bizarre e-mail exchange, the agency spokesperson refused to provide the actual peak number, instead giving a randomly selected count that was revealed to be below the peak. (Update: The DOT said Wednesday morning that they issued 1,551 violations on July 7, suggesting that that is the peak date.)

Sheepshead Bites first reported yesterday that the controversial camera, at the base of a Belt Parkway exit ramp on Shore Parkway near Ocean Parkway, doled out approximately 6,000 violations in just one day, according to Deutsch.

The agency’s spokesperson contacted Sheepshead Bites this morning, stating that the number of violations that was publicized was incorrect, and that they would follow up with the correct number. The press officer later said that 1,015 violations were issued on the day being discussed.

Neither Sheepshead Bites nor Councilman Deutsch had specified the date in which 6,000 violations were allegedly issued.

Sheepshead Bites requested further information from the Department of Transportation spokesperson, including the date they sampled from and the number of violations given on the peak day since the camera was implemented.

The Department of Transportation spokesperson said the number given was from July 29, and that the highest number around that date was 1,266; the press officer added that most days were under 1,100. Though asked, the rep would not say if that encompassed the entire time period in which the camera was active.

We asked for the significance of the July 29 date; the spokesperson said it was given as an example. The rep did not say why they chose that date, or why they plucked a date that their own numbers suggested was below average.

Sheepshead Bites pressed on, asking for the number of violations given on the day in which the most violations were given, going back to the date of implementation.

The agency repeated their claim that the Council member was never told the number of violations issued in one day was 6,000.

Despite two additional follow-ups, the agency flack has not stated the number of violations issued on the peak day. After an attempt by the spokesperson to change the subject of the inquiry, the spokesperson has since stopped responding to our emails.

Deutsch, who supports the use of the camera on the condition that the DOT add signage to give drivers a fair chance, declined to comment on the DOT’s rebuttal. Instead, he said, it’s more important that the streets be made safe.

“When someone gets hurt or someone gets killed in a car accident, their families don’t look at statistics,” he said. “At the end of the day we need to make sure our roads are safe.”

Camera enforcement at that location remains in effect.

UPDATE (September 24 @ 10am): The Department of Transportation spokesperson told Sheepshead Bites this morning that 1,551 violations were issued on July 7, suggesting that this was the peak date.

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  • BayResident

    The Councilman is right you know, the families of dead car accident victims do not look at statistics. That is reserved for Councilmen patting themselves on the back at community board meetings. Even then, the accuracy of such claims doesn’t matter… because safety.

    Dear Councilman Deutsch,

    If you claim 6000 summonses issued, when in reality there were 4 times less, perhaps the claim that “now it is almost to zero, so the camera is helping” is off by as many as 4,449 summons too. And so, if it is made up statistics like these that you use to show how much safer the camera is making our streets, and safe streets are what families of car accident victims care about, perhaps the prudent move would be to not flippantly dismiss the concerns of your constituents.

    In fact, the proper move here might be to hold off on patting yourself on the back until the actual statistics prove your case, and not blatantly make up numbers to fit your story. The number of hurt or killed on this particular highway exit ramp in the past decade or two would be useful here too, as lowering this the intended goal of this camera, as you claim.

    Until you are able to do that, and until the real numbers fit your story, I will continue to assume that this is nothing but a money-grab which is no way linked to any legitimate safety concerns at this specific exit ramp. Only made worse by the lies we are being told to legitimize it.

    A Concerned Voter

    • MurdockCat

      Hear hear.

    • nycfishing

      I hope that no one kids themselves and thinks that the cameras are there for your safety. That is absolutely not the case. The cameras are installed based on a false perception that it is for safety, when in reality all it ends up being is a money making machine for the city.
      1. If the cameras would be there for your safety, a big sign stating that a camera is there and you should slow down would be there since it would prevent much more than a hidden camera.
      2. Out of all accident causes in NYC, the least are just from moderate speeding. Majority are from running lights/signs, turns, reckless driving, DUI, tailgating, etc. Speeding 10-15 miles(majority of the tickets issued via these cameras were for infractions in this range) over the posted speed limit alone caused almost no accidents.
      3. Cameras are placed in areas where it is easy to catch a lot of drivers speeding and in most cases are speed traps that are strategically positioned to catch unsuspecting motorists – such as next to a ramp which is used to exit a highway with average speeds in the 50-65 MPH range. The speed cameras are not placed on Kings Highway or 86th Street or anywhere else where average traffic speeds are stable and its hard to catch anyone speeding.
      4. The speed cameras were not placed in high accident areas or risk zones. They were placed where it is easiest to catch drivers speeding while getting off a highway and thus making money for the city. The real accident prone areas such as the corner of Coney Island Ave by the Belt Parkway West entrance and other areas are ignored when all it would take to lower the acident risk is a light or a sign.

      • Brooklynite

        Totally agree with you

      • Chosun1

        You stated exactly what I was thinking. Well done. I’ll just add these thoughts: Is it possible that there should be a transition zone, where the speed limits drop gradually and a bit more realistically? If I remember correctly, the area in question is not much of a pedestrian zone, so an adjustment should do nothing with respect to the mayor’s bogus claim that this is a matter of pedestrian safety.

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