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Transportation Technology

NYC Mayor Wants Traffic Camera On Every Corner 262

Mr_Blank writes "New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made it clear that he wants to see more traffic light cameras in the Big Apple, saying that he'd have the devices on every street corner if possible. According to The New York Daily News, the city brought in $52 million in fines generated by red light cameras last year alone. Bloomberg doesn't just want a jump in the number of cameras, however. He also wants to publish the names of those who blow through the stop lights in local papers to help shame wrongdoers into changing their ways. What's more, the mayor wants to look into the possibility of adding speed cameras to the mix. Big brother is coming to NYC."
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NYC Mayor Wants Traffic Camera On Every Corner

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  • I'd love to see THIS law put to a direct vote. Of course it won't be, and Bloomberg will probably get booted out next opportunity, but the cameras would of course still stay.
    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @06:50PM (#37198112)

      ...Bloomberg will probably get booted out next opportunity, but the cameras would of course still stay.

      Not necessarily. They had speed cameras on the highways and freeways here in Arizona, and once Janet Napolitano left as Governor to be Secretary of Homeland Security at the Federal level, the new Governor, Jan Brewer, removed them.

      In the City of Tempe, they had an agreement with Redflex Traffic Systems for red-light cameras, but that agreement has ended and the cameras have been shut off. Granted, the agreement's end happened in part because Redflex was too stupid to stipulate that they got a cut when an offender went to traffic school and got the fine scrubbed from their record, as opposed to having an actual ticket, so when they pushed that Tempe just nixed the entire arrangement at the next opportunity. The lawsuit is still pending.

      One problem with photo enforcement is that the camera doesn't stop you and serve you a ticket like police officer does when pulling you over. Instead, they mail the fine to you, but because you haven't been officially and legally served yet, if you ignore the mailing then they have to actually send a person to serve you the ticket in the manner of a process server. Here, a LOT of people have been ignoring the mailings, and they're considering changing the law to not require the in-person serving, but they're receiving resistance to that. So, if a bargain-basement process server costs $40 for three attempts, it's difficult to argue the cost of the process server should be added to the ticket since the complainant didn't pull over the defendant and serve them a ticket in the first place.

      I think that if they're going to institute Red Light Photo Enforcement, they need to paint an actual intersection-entering stop line prominently on the ground. The stop line for the crosswalk isn't the start of the intersection, it's further forward. One might assume one's in the clear if one is crossing the crosswalk, but they technically haven't entered the intersection yet.

      Of course in my world, I'd define the start of the intersection as the stop line before the crosswalk. But I guess we don't care about pedestrians...

      • by drpimp ( 900837 )

        But I guess we don't care about pedestrians...

        Guess you have not been to NY?

        Here in Cali I have seen many red light cameras taken down as well across different cities. Although I never researched the reasoning behind it.

        • by tsotha ( 720379 )

          The situation in California is kind of odd. I don't understand the legal details, but for some reason in L.A. the city wasn't legally entitled to collect money from the red-light cameras. So if you got a ticket in the mail and just didn't pay it there was nothing they could do. On the other hand, if you paid it they wouldn't give your money back (surprise).

          I don't know if that's the case in other cities. Cameras are nothing but a revenue source anyway - the statistics say adding a camera to an intersec

    • Unless he says it will protect children from being run over by terrorists driving Toyotas.
  • Revenue stream (Score:5, Informative)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) * on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @06:32PM (#37197896)

    It's all in pursuit of another revenue stream. New York City is full of this kind of nickel-and-diming. Check out this parking ticket scam [] on truck drivers.

    • wow, really, a scam? that's not a scam, obey parking laws and you don't get a ticket. that's the city saying that letting traffic through on a street has a value and the delivery trucks that impede that traffic have to pay for it. the delivery guys know they're illegally parked. they know they're going to get ticketed. But the company they work for believes that it is more cost-efficient to pay that fine than park the truck legally.

      • how is that not a scam? the city knows delivery trucks have no other place to unload. i'd be happy to bet they both have ledger entries for it in their budgets.

        • First: there's no convenient place to unload. convenient for the delivery guys that is. do you think if there was a loading zone two blocks over those Coca-Cola delivery guys would park there?

          And second: a "scam" implies one party tricking the another into making a foolish decision. in this case, the signs are clearly posted. the delivery companies choose to violate the law and pay the fine. I'm sure they also appreciate that side of the road being clear because they know they can always park there wit

      • You don't live in NYC, do you? There's generally nowhere to park to make deliveries except an "illegal" spot. It's all about the revenue generation, not about safety or even free flow of traffic - they do this in front of my building on River Terrace, one of the quietest streets in downtown Manhattan. There is no way to legally move furniture in and out of the building, so a moving truck is always going to get ticketed - just another tax for living in NYC. I'd call it all a scam, yeah.

        • No, a scam would be to ticket you in a legal spot but claim you were in an illegal spot. Park down the street and dolly the crap to your store, or close shop and go somewhere else.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        Yes, a scam. Have you ever tried to unload something in the city? You actually can't do it without "illegally parking". It's sufficiently pervasive that delivery companies treat it exactly as a tax or licensing fee, a sure sign of an inappropriate law.

        If everyone actually obeyed that law, the city would decay into a shanty in no time.

      • The alternative is not having trucks deliver anything in the city because there's no legal way to park some of those vehicles. It's a government enforced scam.

        • lol! four replies all stating the obvious and not addressing my point at all.

          I recognize that for those delivery guys there's no convenient place to park. the nice open space across the street is available for parking precisely because it's illegal to park there. the reason it's illegal to park there is to keep the roads clear to allow traffic to move freely through the city. when a truck stops to deliver in a no-standing zone they are deliberately inconveniencing hundreds (or thousands) of other vehicle

    • Not all NYC cops hate truck drivers. My dad used to take a truck up to the city (not box truck, tractor trailer, and not through but just into, and at night); I forget the details, but when he had first started going up there one night he'd stopped at a red light. Cop pulls up, tells him to blow through.

      Yeah, apparently down around that edge of the city, that time of night, there's practically no traffic -- but there was, and most likely is, a much greater chance that someone would attempt to open the tra

      • If the lights had camera on them, they could anticipate the traffic and show all green to this driver.

        What's that you say, the cameras are pointed at the intersection rather than away from it...

  • by milbournosphere ( 1273186 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @06:34PM (#37197908)
    but not LA/Socal? They're actually tearing them down in LA (at the police commission's request, amazingly) after realizing that yellow light time adjustments help as well: "My main objection to this whole thing is that I believe the same safety can be achieved by signal timing changes," Councilman Paul Koretz said. "I believe DOT has been pretty resistant to this concept. In budget committee, we found that DOT was not planning on immediately implementing the measure that the council had passed twelve to nothing to change the signal timing on all the signalized intersections [with cameras], plus the additional ones that were identified as more dangerous.... DOT claims it complies with the MUTCD, but the times in the manual are minimums." The same thing also appears to be happening in Houston as well. Does NYC know something the other cities don't? From what googling I've done, red light camera making firms are reporting major drops in revenues. What makes NYC different?
    • They turned out to cost more than they brought in. People aren't as willing to run the light when they know they're being watched. It's the same reason the highway patrol cops hide in the ditch. Visibility is a deterrent. Invisibility is a money-maker.

    • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @06:51PM (#37198130)

      A friend of mine recently became embroiled in a small claims suit after he go involved in a no fault, non injury accident with a cabby at a dangerous intersection on a parkway.

      The suit was brought by the cabby because the accident was his second in 5 years. This is important because of the monetization the city has implemented over the cab industry, and the resulting imposed legislation. As a result of the accident the cabby was not legally eligable to work and was discharged without pay. For this reason the cabby filed small claims for lost wages against my friend.

      Long story short, rediculous things like this happen frequently in NYC because the city government legally taps the till of public transit, and does so because it does not spend money efficiently. This is one of the many reasons that public transit in NYC is abysmal.

      The underlying problem (poor fiscal policy, and corrupt contracts with construction unions) causes the city to seek any and all forms of extraordinary rendition of funds from the public and from its civil servants, such as registered cab companies.

      This is why the mayor wants to institute a KNOWN bad solution. The problem it aims to fix is NOT dangerous traffic-- it is ALL about revinue. Installing more cameras ans watching more people means more people will get caught and will pay bigger fines.

      That is what NYC knows that FS doesn't.

    • by djl4570 ( 801529 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @07:11PM (#37198536) Journal
      More than half of the tickets in LA were sent to people who were legally turning right on red. In may cases this was obvious in the photograph but they still had to squander most of a day waiting for their turn in Traffic court. There's no right on red in NYC. Cuts down on gridlock and makes the crosswalks safer for pedestrians and makes brainless traffic cameras more accurate.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @06:40PM (#37197982) Homepage

    If he wants to be able to track everyone, then I suppose he wouldn't have a problem with the public knowing what he is doing at all times either right?

    • If he's in a car, then his own camera system will be tracking his movements and he'll be subject to it as much as anyone else.

  • Red light running morons kill people.

    • Then change the timing of the lights to prevent it, rather than just catch the people as they do it.
  • ...just hire more cops for traffic patrol? more people with income and no big brother concerns.

    i really prefer the idea of spike strips that pop up when you run the light. nothing like instant gratification!

  • IF and only if no one under any circumstances is exempt from name publishing. And police cars are subject to the same when their lights are not on and are not responding to emergencies.

    But that's not going to happen.

  • Better Link (Score:4, Informative)

    by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @06:57PM (#37198248) Homepage

    Better link to the actual source, the sometimes-sketchy New York Daily News: []

  • i bet sales of BB/pellet guns and paintball guns increase exponentially
  • While camera equipment is getting cheaper, I wonder what it would cost the police department to have the newspapers run the names or pictures or whatever of the red stop runnies.

    In this day of people wanting to be famous for anything, i would think getting your name in the paper would be a good start.

  • by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @07:22PM (#37198726)

    Interesting Houston has been going through traffic camera limbo, first they voted to have them, then not have them, then have them again because of some contract and now finally the city has decided to break the contract and repeal the ordinance that allowed them in the first place. So all the traffic cameras that are up are going to be turned off and to get them back on again or install any new ones the mayor and the city council will have to pass a new ordinance which likely won't happen any time soon. It's been a surprisingly big issue locally.

    My father recently got a 'fine' for not coming to a full stop on a red when he was going to make a right trun he slowed down stopped and then made the turn but the camera decided no it wasn't kosher he didn't come to a 100% complete stop for the required amount of time so he got a fine. All they could do was fine him 75 bucks and say he couldn't renew his registration till he did it. Turns out you can renew online and bypass any such thing so that's what he did and he still hasn't payed the silly fine.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Bloomberg's development is entirely predictable if one knows European history. He started out believing in government improving the lives of the "populace" by forcing it to eat right (his campaigns against canned soups, sodas, etc.), to buy into government health care (his first hypothesis regarding the Times Square bomber was "maybe someone unhappy with the health care bill", which is very telling of what was on his mind as to the most credible terror threat his city faces), to give up means of "violent" s

    • Don't forget that under his instruction and pay that several individuals broke many federal laws by lying on paperwork and illegally transporting firearms across state lines.

      He had no authority to do that, actually interfered with LEGIT investigations, and in the end walked away without a blemish. Er, except, the DA down in (iirc) Virginia did tell him to stay away or he'd have him arrested.

      Cause the dude broke many federal laws. Very many. He formed a gunrunning gang and got away with it because of who

  • Bring back the pillories. Ignore the past 300 years of attempts to make civilization actually civilized. Get medieval on them. Give'em the rack! Lord Mayor Bloomberg of The New York demandeth order! Burn the heretics!

  • And in every car, home and business.

  • ...I didn't want to live there. Note to self: Next visit, three words: Expense Account. Taxi.

  • Seriously, at very least, this pretty much assures Bloomberg's re-election, as who could compete with an incumbent financed by every traffic camera maker in the world?

  • Not surprisingly, the comments on this item are full of unwarranted panic and claims of Big Brother coming to a corner near you. I live in Manhattan, and I would welcome speed cameras and traffic light cameras. These are cameras intended to catch people who are violating traffic law, which makes them an enormous hazard on the crowded streets of the city. Cycling in NYC is basically running the gauntlet (fortunately, Central Park is a bit of a haven for cyclists and pedestrians), and reckless drivers are a h
  • I'd like to see cameras installed in all elected officials offices.
    • Sure, right after you agree to a live camera installed inside your car, and workplace.

      I think you're confused about what red-light cameras do.

      They are still-picture cameras that capture the license plate of a vehicle that has entered the intersection on a red.

      • So you think I should have to give up the privacy in my own home before politicians should be required to be transparent?

        I think you are the one who is confused.

        BTW, I am quite familiar with these cameras having recently paid a fine because a portion of my back bumper was still in the intersection when the light turned red. The ticket came in the mail with about four different shots of the vehicle in which the passengers could clearly be seen. While it wasn't a problem for me, I can imaging a scenario whe

      • Red-light cameras take pictures of vehicles and their drivers breaking the law. For most politicians, the equivalent would be 24-hour video surveillance.
  • Big brother is already THERE. There's cops everywhere. They demand (and have gotten) the power to arbitrarily search anyone entering the city, or using the subway. Their enforcement of the law is, of course, haphazard and largely unjust, but there's no shortage of enforcers.

  • What is this paper thing you speak of? Is it anything like

  • Or at least it would not be if people did not keep going through a RED light. I am getting SICK and TIRED of people going through a red, through stops, accelerating to speed way past the speed limit , ignoring my fucking right of passage, and then crying they got a fine. Respect the FUCKING law and you won't get a fine. See how easy it was ? This is not about big brother, this is about fucking moron thinking they can get away with their way of badly driving. As for the big brother accusation : you realize t

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