“PHOTO COP” On Surveillance
WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. By John F. Bailey. January 30, 2018 UPDATED January 31, 2018:
WPCNR has learned from a person who attended last night’s Special Meeting that the city is greenlighting Red Light Camera installations at key intersections in the City of White Plains.
The “Green Light” for a vote occurred at last night’s Special Meeting at City Hall, (as predicted by The CitizeNetReporter). The participant in the meeting said the reaction of the Common Council was “very positive, there was no strong negatives or concerns,” other than locations of what intersections would be “camed” up.
The source told WPCNR that the ordinance allowing red light cameras was written without specific locations so in the future the ordinance would not have to be passed each time an intersection was added or deleted.
The source said the city would pay the vendor $3,750 per camera per month with possibly 6 to 12 intersections selected, but the number of cameras has not been determined. The source said six cameras may be used to start. The source observed that some intersections might have long distance placements to “cam” more intersections per camera. That has to be worked out.
The source said American Traffic Systems serves Yonkers, Mount Vernon and New York City with red light systems at the present time in the area. ATS volunteered that in New Rochelle, that city charges $50 a ticket plus a $15 surcharge for city processing. According to my source the city would pay ATS just for the rental of the cameras and keep all the revenues for tickets collected. The source said in Yonkers the ticket is $50 plus a $25 surcharge.
When this concept was first presented by the administration in 2015 it was said that White Plains Police would analyze the pictures furnished of the violations and be the ultimate authority on deciding on issuing a ticket.
They said poles would have to be installed on the intersections selected and it might be possible to start in operation by mid-summer with as little as six cameras.
Another factor of concern was the city had 18,000 moving violations most recently, but the number of red light violations was not broken out.
The informed observer told WPCNR this morning that the vote on the legislation and the contract with the vendor American Traffic Systems a major installer of these systems who will install and operate the cameras will be on the Common Council agenda next Monday night, February 5.
The project has taken three years to reach this point.
The observer said “the vendor and the city administration are saying it is a moneymaker for the city.” Previously the push for the red light “PhotoCops” had been motivated by the administration concern for the safety of the driving public, not potential revenue.
Similar systems elsewhere has lead to widespread complaints to the towns, cities and counties that have installed them, and some towns have removed the installations.
Locations in White Plains where the “PhotoCops” will be installed have yet to be determined, the source said.
Another source at the meeting said that the cameras would be set up at 12 intersections the city.
That source said the timing duration of the yellow(amber) light has not been officially determined.
In WPCNR’S view, the timing of how long the yellow caution amber light actually lasts before the light goes red is the key factor.
There would be about six months before this became operative. The second source told WPCNR there would be a trial period where drivers caught in violation would be given some sort of amnesty.
The violation of running the red is when your vehicle is in the intersection over the stopline and the camera picture shows the offending vehicle incursion over the stop line. How far over the stop line? (To be determined)
More details of the ordinance may be available in the backup material for next Monday Common Council meeting.
The source who talked about the meeting to me first said that this program as presented Monday night had not been presented to the Common Council before Monday night. The source also said that the Council had not been informed of the progress of the plan, and that the city administration selected the vendor, American Traffic Systems, without presenting alternative vendors to the Common Council.