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City Councilman Pushes For Signs Alerting Drivers Of Red Light Cameras

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As the city looks to step up enforcement of traffic laws, one New York City councilman has proposed alerting drivers as they approach any of the 150 red light cameras.

Staten Island Republican Vincent Ignizio announced a bill Wednesday that would require the city to post signs near intersections with red light cameras.

“For the city, this is more about revenue generation than it is slowing motorists down and safety,” Ignizio said. “I just think we owe it to the motorists that we let them know that this intersection potentially could cost you a lot of money if you speed through it through the use of technology.

“That’s the case in New Jersey, and it works fine. And I think it ought be here.”

Violators caught running a light face a $50 fine, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.

Red light camera locations are already available online through a number of outside websites, which gather the information from drivers.

But it is the city’s official policy not to reveal where the cameras are to maximize the stated mission of deterring drivers from breaking the law.

“Ultimately, we’re not here to entrap you,” Ignizio told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott. “We’re here to inform you and we want to slow down traffic throughout the city.”

Some drivers and pedestrians support a change, while others don’t.

“Yeah, it should be posted in each intersection,” one man told Brown.

“It would defeat the purpose,” said driver Henry Kelly. “People would pick and choose where they’re going to gun the light.”

The mass transit advocacy group Transportation Alternatives also agrees with the strategy, saying in a statement: “If we put up a sign at those crosswalks and intersections that have red light cameras, we’ll send an invitation to the lawless to blow red lights at the other 99% of intersections.”

Ignizio is also pitching plans to expand the pedestrian countdown clock program and lengthen the time of yellow lights.

All three bills still have to go through a number of steps, including committee review, before becoming law.

Mayor Bill de Blasio last week laid out his 62-point Vision Zero plan to cut down on traffic deaths.

The plan calls for expanding the use of speed and red light enforcement cameras, which would require authorization from lawmakers in Albany.

Before the start of the school year, 20 speed cameras were posted near school zones with chronic speeding problems.

Seven pedestrians were killed in the first two weeks of 2014. There were 286 traffic fatalities in the five boroughs in 2013, according to the mayor.

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