Red Light Cameras Expand


redNassau County’s red light cameras continue to make drivers think twice about running a red light, or even gliding through a right turn when that light shines crimson.

The program first started in 2009. Since then, millions have been cited for violations, resulting in millions of dollars in revenue in the way of fines. Christopher Mistron is the county’s Traffic Safety Board coordinator, and says regardless of the amount of money the program brings in, it’s still all about safety first.

“The main goal [is] the reduction of crashes…safety,” Mistron said. “An example of that is the selection process for [camera] locations, it’s not haphazard, it’s not based on volume, it’s based upon where can we have measurable, positive results.”

Currently, there are several red light camera locations in the Roslyn area: the intersection of Northern Boulevard at Shelter Rock Road, the intersection of Searingtown Boulevard and Northern Boulevard, the intersection of Jericho Turnpike and Glen Cove Road and the intersection of I.U. Willets Road and Glen Cove Road.

Mistron says there are plans to expand the program, by installing cameras in 24 more locations around the county. There are currently over 150 cameras spread across 76 locations in Nassau.

“We’re looking at accident data, we’re looking at the geometry of different areas to try and see how many more will be put in place over the next few months,” Mistron said.

Mistron stated that revenue from the red light program is actually decreasing, and that’s a good thing, since it means that crashes are down.

To continue to keep the roads safe, and perhaps boost that revenue back up, county lawmakers have passed a resolution asking the state to authorize the installation of speed cameras in 56 school zones. The State Senate should take up the debate for a new stand-alone bill by the end of the month.

Safetywise, Mistron said the cameras are necessary, since studies have seen an average of 200 motorists traveling 25 mph or more above the posted speed limits in school zones.

The other part of the equation? It has been estimated that school zone cameras could bring in $25-30 million a year in revenue.

Along with cameras, Mistron said pedestrian safety is key, as his department works on lead pedestrian interval (LPI) technology, which allows for an extended “all red” period at an intersection. This gives pedestrians a four-second head start while cars are stopped to keep cars from turning into people in a crosswalk.

There’s also the wide encompassing “Complete Streets” act adopted last summer, which ensures that the needs of motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists alike will be factored in when new roads are designed.
— Joe Scotchie contributed to this article


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