Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Proposed Bill Would Require City Mark Speed Camera Locations

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Red light cameras have been around for years, but unless you drive on a street every day, you might not even notice them, and one Staten Island lawmaker is looking to change that. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

There are 150 red light cameras at intersections across the city, but drivers are never exactly clear where they are until they find a ticket in their mailbox.

City Councilman Vincent Ignizio of Staten Island is looking to change that by placing signs on the street to notify drivers, reintroducing a bill he had floated before. He also wants countdown clocks.

"The least we can do to motorists is to let them know when the light's going to change, and let them know that this intersection is being monitored by technology," Ignizio said.

The cameras, and the tickets that result from them, essentially serve two purposes. First, of course, they're a deterrent to running a light. The city's Department of Transportation says that spots with them have seen big reductions in accidents involving pedestrians. In addition, the 575,000 tickets issued by the cameras are also a big revenue generator for the city.

Many people feel that the focus should really be on deterrence, and they think these signs could help.

"It's important that people know," said one person. "This way, it'll be obvious there's something there that they shouldn't try and get away with.

However, one of the most common refrains on Queens Boulevard, one of the city's most notorious streets, was that the signs would defeat the purpose of the cameras in the first place.

"Most people know that there's cameras, and they try and catch you, so I don't think they should tell you where the cameras are," said another.

"The ticket is always best," said a third. "When you hit them in the pocketbook, they listen."

As part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan to reduce pedestrian deaths, he wants Albany to give the city the right to install more of these cameras. The question here is whether any new cameras would come with warning signs.

"It's a half and half kind of thing because it's like, if you don't put the sign there, it'll bring more money into the city, but at the same time, you're going to drive right through that light possibly," said one New Yorker.

It's unclear when or if the City Council will take up the legislation. Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito says it's under review.

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