Red Light Traffic Cameras Coming To Mount Vernon

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Mount Vernon can install 20 red light cameras and New Rochelle can install 12 under the new law.
Mount Vernon can install 20 red light cameras and New Rochelle can install 12 under the new law.

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – New Rochelle and Mount Vernon motorists are going to have to exercise a little more caution when approaching yellow lights in their cities after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to install red light traffic cameras at intersections.

The legislation, which was sponsored by State Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, who represents Mount Vernon, was among 92 pieces of legislation that were signed into law by Cuomo last week after being passed by state Legislature earlier this year.

Many communities throughout the state and the U.S. have been utilizing red light cameras for years, including Yonkers and municipalities on Long Island and upstate. By issuing a $50 fine for each red light offense, officials hope that it will limit red light running accidents, which typically are among the worst due to the speed and angle of collisions.

In all, Mount Vernon can install cameras at up to 20 intersections, while New Rochelle can install as many as a dozen, most of which will likely be on North Avenue and Main Street. Red light cameras can generate around $1 million in revenue each year.

“The new law will dramatically increase the safety of our pedestrians, cyclists and motorists,” Hassell-Thompson said. “Those who recklessly run red lights will no longer be tolerated. By creating awareness, people will modify their driving behavior and everyone will be safer.”

The red light program will run through 2019, when it will have to be approved again if it is to continue. In Mount Vernon, drivers were ambivalent when asked if they believed the red light cameras would influence their driving in any way.

“I think most people are stopping at red lights, and it’s really a rare occasion when you have to gun it through a yellow (light), and even that is usually because you get caught in between braking and hitting the gas,” Marcus Barnes said. “I don’t think it’s going to change the way I drive at all.”

Will Holmes, a Mount Vernon resident, had a different view, and argued that it’s a cash grab for the city.

“It’s just like everything else in Mount Vernon, it’s about the money,” he said. “More money, more corruption. What else is new.” 

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This is why MV has budgeted for the $1m in revenue from Red Light Ticketing..they plan on committing the same crime to motorists as Chicago did..

Furor engulfs Chicago's red-light camera system; Chicago mayor tries to contain furor over red-light cameras and unexplained spike in tickets
Associated Press By Don Babwin, Associated Press

Red Light Cameras Tag Thousands for Undeserved Tickets

CHICAGO (AP) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration is scrambling to contain a furor over the city's red-light camera system, which may have ticketed thousands of motorists under questionable circumstances.

Prompted by a Chicago Tribune investigation that revealed unexplained spikes in tickets issued, eight aldermen have asked the city's top watchdog to launch a probe into the ticket surge and private attorneys are gathering information for a possible class-action lawsuit.

Emanuel has vowed to give motorists an extra chance to appeal tickets and to refund any issued improperly. More than 13,000 red-light tickets costing $100 each were generated at a dozen intersections where there were dramatic spikes in violations logged.

But critics say that simply writing refund checks won't restore public trust the city's system for enforcing violations.

"These spikes, you can tell they (the tickets) are fraudulent," said Scott Waguespack, one of the aldermen who sent Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson a letter asking for an investigation. "We are talking millions of dollars here and something is fundamentally wrong with the system."

In its review of tickets issued since 2007, the Tribune found intersections where violations increased from a few per day to as many as 56.

View galleryA red light camera is seen at an intersection Monday, …
A red light camera is seen at an intersection Monday, July 28, 2014, in Chicago. Chicago Mayor Rahm …
Neither Emanuel nor the city transportation department has suggested the possibility of scrapping the cameras, as Los Angeles, Houston and a few dozen other cities have in recent years amid questions about their effectiveness. The number of cities using the cameras peaked at 540 in 2012. By the end of 2013, that number had dropped to 503, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, a nonprofit research group.

The cameras have stirred a range of protests, including that they are intended more for raising revenue than ensuring safe streets. The Chicago system has generated more than $500 million since it was installed in 2003.

Chicago's troubles have been compounded by federal charges filed against a former city official accused of accepting cash, an Arizona condominium and other gifts to steer city contracts to the red-light company that started the program. Emanuel fired the firm even before the charges were filed.

Emanuel said the program has deterred motorists from running red lights.

"I am angry if the system is inoperable," Emanuel told reporters last week.

View galleryA car passes a red light camera at an intersection …
A car passes a red light camera at an intersection Monday, July 28, 2014, in Chicago. Chicago Mayor …
The city has yet to explain the ticket spikes. Speculation has focused on the possibility the cameras were malfunctioning or being manipulated to generate more tickets.

At least one alderman said the city should consider abandoning the cameras.

"There is a real lack of faith in the public for these red light cameras," said Alderman Robert Fioretti.

Waguespack complained the city has refused to answer questions about the system, including the length of time the lights are yellow to more fundamental questions about who is actually running it.

"We want to know who is running the thing... who is accountable and who is making the technical decisions that are tied to the spikes," said Waguespack.

Patrick Keating, an attorney handling two lawsuits, has maintained that there is no way technicians can be adequately examining the videos of the infractions to determine if tickets are warranted.

From the above article: "Chicago's troubles have been compounded by federal charges filed against a former city official accused of accepting cash, an Arizona condominium and other gifts to steer city contracts to the red-light company that started the program."

Is something similar happening (or has already happened) in Mount Vernon? How may Mayor Davis be personally benefitting from this red-light camera program?

I'm more concerned with the crime that will be committed and already has in other cities including Yonkers where the Yellow light delay is "timed" to snag people. There are countless lawsuits regarding the synchronization of the Red Light Program and how it is used to generate revenue by not givng motorists proper timing.

Interesting that a lot of cities that have had red light cameras are dropping them. I believe there are a couple of cities in NY that have approval to install the cameras but haven't.

Bramson's in it for the money so there's no way he's not going to use what he so desperately sought to get. And for Strome not to know the number of intersections is a joke, but here's a hint Chuck: 1 dozen.

Forget about those open of business commercials, New Ro and Mt. Vern just put up the stay away signs. Red light cameras are such a nice way to promote our cities. Thanks everyone!

Activist Bill, spot on !

I don't understand how the cameras will help on Main Street. Have you ever driven on it?? 5 MPH if you are lucky. The police should get rid of the double parked cars first.
There already are two sets of cameras on North Ave, one at the Train Station / service road to 95, and one at Lincoln Avenue.
I also agree that the lights should be synched better, but the houses of worship have a big influence on that. plus , there is a different light pattern on the weekends than there is during the week.

should jus go to c h give my bank acct credit card digitz let them take what they want. get it over with. b eazier

The MV resident Will Holmes is 100% spot on about the red light cameras being a cash grab for the city. The Mayor, Ernie Davis, and one of his City Council people, Marcus Griffith, have been saying the red light cameras will save lives. There is no documentation of drivers running red lights and causing accidents, let alone killing anyone, whether they are other drivers or pedestrians.
In the current city budget, there is a perceived revenue of $1 Million from red light cameras for this year (beginning January 1), yet there are no cameras in place as of today's date (July 28). For the city to realize $1M, there would have to be at least $2M in tickets issued and paid. At $50 each, that would be 40,000 tickets! Mount Vernon will never realize that much revenue, even if the cameras were operating all year.
If the Mount Vernon police did their jobs, enforcing traffic laws, there would be considerably fewer hazardous drivers on the roads of this city.

Same goes for New Rochelle, its just a money grab and has nothing to do with safety. Notice how the story doesn't mention the number of accidents caused by running red lights? That's because there weren't any, anywhere in the either city. And of the $50 tickets, the camera company keeps half so you need to double the number of tickets in your equation.

And this legislation does nothing to solve the underlying problem that it can take an awful long time to get from 1 end of New Rochelle to the other, all because of traffic lights. Why not eliminate some? And there certainly won't be any warning signs indicating the cameras are there, that won't help the bottom line The cameras will get placed at the busiest intersections because they'll generate the most revenue.

Soon the camera locations will be known and posted everywhere, I just wish I could plug that data into my nav system. I bet there's an app for that.

The article also only mentions Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, but in truth Senators George Latimer and Andrea Stewart-Cousins were also very supportive and pushed hard to get this through at the last minute of the last day of the legislative calendar.

Big thanks to Senators George Latimer, Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Ruth Hassell-Thompson, now can we run them out of the town? Its as if their unrelenting push for late term abortions wasn't enough, they had to force this down our throats.

And I don't see how any of this jives with the governors Open for Business campaign because these cameras simply say, stay away!

Remember, send a message in November! These 3 are bad for NY.

Mount Vernon has about 159 traffic light intersections, according to the city's website. Nearly one-fourth of them can be removed and allow for a smooth flow of traffic, and the lights should be synchronized, so drivers aren't driving from green to red, green to red, every few blocks, increasing the exhaust fumes polluting the air.