Bloomberg Expresses Rage Over Failed Plan for Speed-Tracking Cameras

As it became clear that a proposal to place speed-tracking cameras on New York City’s streets would fail in Albany, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg let fly a charged and unusually personal attack against state lawmakers on Wednesday, blaming state senators, by name, for the future deaths of children killed by speeding cars.

The next time that word of such a tragedy emerges, Mr. Bloomberg suggested at a news conference near Union Square, “why don’t you pick up the phone and call your state senator and ask why they allowed that child to be killed?”

He said his office would even provide contact information for certain senators: Dean G. Skelos, the Republican majority leader; Simcha Felder, who was elected as a Democrat but chose to caucus as a Republican; and Martin J. Golden, a Brooklyn Republican who has often been a crucial ally to the Bloomberg administration.

“Maybe you want to give those phone numbers to the parents of the child when a child is killed,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “It would be useful so that the parents can know exactly who’s to blame.”

Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Republicans, declined to address the mayor’s remarks directly, saying only that “no one has fought harder or longer than Senate Republicans” to promote safety in New York City.

Though speed cameras, long trumpeted by city officials as an important street safety tool, were initially included in a budget package in the State Assembly, they do not appear in the budget that is expected to be approved by the Legislature this week.

Some opponents of the cameras have called them a warrantless attempt to raise revenue for the city and have expressed doubts as to whether they reduce speeding.

Mr. Golden said on Wednesday that other areas with speed cameras around the country had found them “unreliable.”

Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner, said on Wednesday that over 100 cities and states were already using cameras “and study after study has proved that they work.” The Transportation Department cited the example of Washington, D.C., where the police said last year that speeding at camera locations had fallen significantly since 2001, when the devices were first installed.

Last week, when New York City announced its final 2012 traffic fatality statistics — 274 deaths, the highest since 2008 — officials sought to tie the figures to a need for speed cameras, particularly near schools.

The Transportation Department released a map documenting 100 locations where 75 percent of vehicles were documented as speeding within a quarter-mile of a city school. Near three schools 100 percent of drivers were found to be speeding, according to the department.

Amid consistent calls from advocates, who are often critical of New York City’s traffic enforcement, it appeared that momentum had begun to build in support of the policy, particularly after a spate of high-profile fatal crashes this year.

Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker and a top Democratic candidate for mayor, pledged her support for speed cameras this month, as did Raymond W. Kelly, the police commissioner.

But the plan has faced opposition from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which, like Mr. Golden, has said that the more effective way to reduce speeding would be to hire more officers.

Mr. Golden suggested that the state revisit the use of cameras “if we can prove that the technology is sound, and document unequivocally that it will reduce speeding and fatalities.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Bloomberg appeared in no mood to wait.

“We literally are having kids that are getting killed around our schools because people are speeding,” he said. “And they don’t want to let us use cameras to stop people from doing that.”