Yonker’s Red Light Camera Program Is About To Drastically Expand

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red-light-camera-yonkersThe Yonker’s red-light camera program has just been extended and expanded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, among 92 pieces of legislation signed Tuesday by the governor.

Yonkers is the largest city in NY to receive such a substantial expansion on it’s red light camera pilot program.

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Two other substantial NY cities were hoping to also integrate the red-light camera program — Albany and Kingston — but it appeared less likely that they’ll get approval anytime soon.

The red-light camera programs have spurred heated  national debates regarding their effectiveness and safety, AAA has raised concerns, and some cities have refused to participate. The cities of Syracuse and Buffalo received authorization for the pilot program in 2009, but their citizens and representatives have overwhelmingly declined the implementation.

In the city of Yonkers, there are currently 57 cameras, watching 25 intersections. The city is currently running ongoing tests to determine the effectiveness of the program, and how many new cameras should be installed after this week’s expansion was approved.

How The Program Works

The cameras installations includes sensors built into the roadway before the stop line that are designed to measure a vehicle’s speed to determine if the vehicle can stop before it gets to the stop line before it turns red. If the program calculates that a vehicle cannot stop in time, then it takes a picture once the vehicle has passed over the sensors. It then takes a second picture approximately two seconds later when the vehicle is within the intersection. At the same time a 24 hour video is recording the intersection.

The red light pictures are initially termed “events”. The events are reviewed to ensure a violation has actually taken place. If it has, the video, through an automated process is cropped to 12 seconds for each violation to show the vehicle in question approaching the intersection, passing the stop line and going through the intersection. The  DMV is then contacted to receive all of the vehicle information and driving record of the operator. This information is reviewed to make sure the vehicle information matches the plate and the vehicle in the pictures. If everything matches, the images are made available to the City of Yonkers, and a City employee reviews the still photographs and the video and checks that the plate and vehicle information matches the pictures. If the vehicle had indeed passed over the stop line when the light was red, and passes into the intersection impeding the cross lane of traffic or continues through the intersection, the employee approves the violation.

How many new cameras do you think Yonkers should install?

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