As of a little more than a year ago the city had 50 traffic cameras to catch drivers who run red lights. Last summer the state legislature approved doubling the number of cameras. The new cameras were installed in December and they have been busy capturing the license plates of red light runners ever since.
City Department of Transportation figures, as reported by the Post, show more than a doubling of red light running drivers --from 21,799 in January 2006 to 56,312 this past January. If that pace continues the city will collect an extra $33.8 million in fines this year. Outgoing DoT Commisioner Iris Weinshall says the program is about safety, not revenue generation, and that the program is extremely effective.
In addition to the 100 operating cameras, which rotate between 175 high-traffic intersections, the city also has 200 dummy cameras. The dummies flash when cars run a red light but don't take a picture. Weinshall would like to increase the number of working cameras ten-fold so that there are 1000 cameras amongst the city's 12,000 intersections.
Some residents are complaining about the new cameras. The Times talks a few residents of the Parc Vendome condo on 57th St., near a newly installed camera at 57th and 9th. The flash used by the camera is a 300-watt strobe light. Residents see the flash day and night, but the problem is worse after dark, especially late on a Saturday night. Complaints to City Councilmember Gale Brewer have gotten the DoT to promise to reposition the offending flash.
Fort Greene traffic camera by ultraclay! on Flickr