Jersey City officials discuss potentially utilizing speed cameras to help reduce traffic violence


Jersey City officials held a meeting about potentially utilizing speed cameras to help reduce traffic violence throughout the city.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

“We’re calling on you to develop a speed camera pilot program in Jersey City. We want to ensure it is fully government controlled. No private contractors,” Colin DeVries, a board member of Safe Streets Jersey City, said at the City Council Caucus Chambers yesterday.

He cited a study done in Montgomery County, Maryland that saw speeding drop 19 percent when a camera was installed, also noting that the New York City Department of Transportation controls their own speed cameras.

Safe Streets JC President Jimmy Lee noted there were over 700 vehicular traffic deaths in New Jersey last year.

“There are things we can do,” he said.

Belinda Delancy explained that her brother, Phillip James Delancy, 36, died from a hit-and-run last November.

“The driver fled the scene and left my brother to bleed out on the sidewalk. A vehicle killed him with little to no regard,” she said.

“No one wants to go through what me and my family have gone through for the last five months. We need to protect the pedestrians that navigate our streets daily.”

She noted that eventually, the driver turned himself in and went to jail at the age of 22.

“He will have on his conscience killing my brother forever,” Delancy stated.

Her father, Phillip Ralph Delancy, also weighed in on the tragedy.

“He got clipped by a speeding vehicle, severed his leg, put two ribs through his lungs. These people left him in concrete and dirt to die. Pass whatever it is you have to do to pass a bill or make these cameras visible to help reduce speed,” the sad father said.

Mayor Steven Fulop said it’s the prerogative of the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJ DOT) to start a pilot program, while County Commissioner Bill O’Dea (D-2) said he would support the program, though said other specifics are needed first.

“I certainly support the concept. Where exactly is one of the biggest details,” he stated, also noting there are serious traffic safety issues on John F. Kennedy Boulevard – which is a county road.

“We would need to understand what’s the state proposing. It’s in their control ultimately,” replied Fulop.

O’Dea argued that it would take some serious nudging to get Trenton to move.

“The state isn’t proposing anything. They’re hoping … the city would look into where a pilot program makes sense,” he said.

Fulop acknowledged that improvements on JFK Boulevard are a necessity.

“I certainly would support studying an area of Kennedy Blvd because it’s extremely dangerous. We’ve been asking them for years to do things on [Route] 440. I’m happy to advocate for legislative change,” the mayor added.

Fulop continued that he had questions on how the program would be paid for, such as if it would be self-sustainable, and who would control it.

“I can’t express how often we’ve reached out to the state on 440. They push back every time,” he also said.

“It’s very frustrating. I can give you many examples: The state won’t patrol it,” Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey said.

She further stated that she has worked with O’Dea and the Jersey City Police Department in an effort to curb drag racing on 440.

“This is what we want. It’s getting kicked around and no one is taking ownership of it,” DeVries doubled down.

Fulop wanted to see a more focused proposal, pointing out that there is fierce opposition to automated ticketing of drivers who did not slow down on yellow lights turning red.

Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore said he understood the opposition to the cameras, though acknowledged some areas needed some action taken.

“I would like to see data as to where these accidents occur. A lot of people have horrible experiences with the red light cameras. There are some areas in Jersey City you really can’t speed. There are some areas where it’s like ‘Grand Theft Auto,'” he said.

“Part of this meeting was to figure out the steps,” DeVries said.

Fulop said that the state would not permit having the cameras in certain parts of the city and not others.

DeVries also said that state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31) was expected to attend the meeting and discuss the state-level aspect, but couldn’t make it.

“Senator Cunningham has committed to doing what’s needed at the state level if the xity commits to the speed camera plan,” DeVries said, as well as that he was unable to reach Jersey City’s state Assembly members on the topic.

Kendall Martin noted the Vision Zero plan implemented by Fulop was designed to address such issues.

“What’s going on with the Vision Zero plan? I’m against doing things without the data. Speed cameras have been very bad for Black communities,” he said.

“Speed cameras are a revenue generator for the city. They make big bucks. People are living paycheck to paycheck. A working person gets a speed ticket from a speed camera, that could be groceries for someone. ICE targets people using that data.”

DeVries said back that the cameras aren’t providing constant surveillance, prompting Prinz-Arey to say there wasn’t going to be any back-and-forth since all parties would have a chance to speak.

Fulop then addressed the question related to Vision Zero.

“We’re open to anything that moves the city forward. We will get you data on the Vision Zero. We’re all committed to safer streets,” again reiterating the need for the state to get to work.

“Everything else is just us talking to each other.”

Council members Joyce Watterman, Daniel Rivera, James Solomon, and Rich Boggiano were in attendance as well, though had to leave early to attend another city function.

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  1. “A working person gets a speed ticket from a speed camera, that could be groceries for someone.”

    A non-speeding person doesn’t get a speed ticket from a speed camera. That could be someone who doesn’t get hit by car and lives to bring groceries home to their family. Speed limits aren’t guidelines.