New York

Some complain about Albany’s photo-enforced school zones, city officials disagree

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) — The City of Albany has received $1.9 million since School Zone speed cameras began finening speeders in 2021, according to the Albany Police Department. City officials say Albany still has a “serious speed problem,” and CCTV is protecting not just the safety of students, but everyone, to slow drivers.

WALB has received complaints about one of the speed camera zones on one of Albany’s busiest streets: North Slappey Boulevard. Motorists say the speed camera sign is blocked by another sign.

City officials have a different opinion.

WALB received complaints that the sign warning of the photo-engraved school zone heading south at 2200 North Slappey Boulevard is partially obscured by a no-parking sign.

The Albany Police Chief and the Mayor were made aware of the complaints and disagreed.

“But the signage, we don’t want to put a bunch of signage out there. But there is adequate signage to let people know you are entering a school area,” said Albany Police Chief Michael Persley.

“This has been a school zone for decades. And these school zones have been around for quite some time. It’s not a nefarious conspiracy to put up this no parking sign,” Albany Mayor Bo Dorough said

The “No Parking” sign is located 5.5m in front of the school’s photo speed limit sign. This sign is 29 inches by 22 inches.

Residents who have complained to us have said they don’t think this is an appropriate warning. Police report that there have been 4,040 violations and warnings in this school area since the start of camera surveillance this school year.

“What tell you what? We have a problem with speeding on Slappey Drive,” said Dorough.

City officials say flashing warning lights are coming, but they’re waiting for state approval to install them.

“Because this is a state road. We need to get permission from the Georgia Department of Transportation to place turn signals in this location,” Persley said.

But until those warning lights are installed, city officials say, just drive the speed limit because protecting students and pedestrians from speeding drivers is the issue.

“At the end of the day we got a school zone and the number of subpoenas issued is a testament to the scale of the problem,” Dorough said.

“The whole intention from the beginning was to change the driving behavior. And from the first school zones where these cameras were implemented, you can see that driving behavior has changed in the way that people can see where they are. They’re slowing down,” Persley said.

Since the school year began in August, speed cameras have issued 12,832 alerts.

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