By Julia Ryan
Red light cameras will be activated at three high-risk intersections in Nassau County this week, with cameras to be eventually activated at 50 intersections in the next five months, Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi announced Tuesday.
The cameras, which will take pictures of the license plates of vehicles driving through red lights, are being installed as part of a New York State law that went into effect in April that authorized certain counties in New York to the automated systems. The first three cameras, part of Phase 1 of the camera installations, will be activated in Bethpage at the intersection of Stewart Avenue and Central Avenue, in Massapequa at Merrick Road and Park Boulevard and in Oceanside at Atlantic Avenue and Lawson Boulevard, Suozzi said.
Suozzi was joined at the news conference by Nassau Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, several county legislators, officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA), the American Automobile Association (AAA), and American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the company that was contracted to manage the red light cameras.
“[The red light cameras] will deter drivers from speeding through intersections and posing a serious danger to everyone on the road,” Suozzi said.
“The reduction in the number of crashes is especially important as crashes caused by motorists running red lights are, on the average, more deadly and damaging than other types of crashes at signalized intersections,” said Thomas M. Louizou, regional administrator for the NTSA.
The remaining 17 intersections in Phase 1 will go live by September 1 (see below for a complete list of Phase 1 intersections). Phase 2 red-light cameras will go live at another 20 intersections on December 1 and the last 10 cameras will be active by January, 2010, officials said. James Tuton, president and CEO of ATS, stressed that the cameras will only take pictures of the drivers’ license plates and not the drivers’ faces.
Citations issued through red-light cameras will be the equivalent of a parking ticket. Tickets will cost drivers $50, which is expected to bring in $4 million in revenue for the county this year and $20 million next year.
Robert Sinclair, the spokesman for AAA, said that the red-light cameras have been very successful in New York City, the only county in New York that has implemented the cameras so far. The City had a 73 percent drop in red-light violations between 1994, when the cameras were first installed, and 2005. The city also had a 41 percent drop in collisions and a 35 percent drop in vehicular fatalities.
Nassau Legislator Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn) said that the cameras will help deter people from making rash decisions while they are driving.
“Some people get behind the wheel and become much more aggressive than they ever would be when they aren’t driving,” Wink said, “Red-light cameras will help Nassau County drivers be more courteous and cautious on the road.”
Nassau County Red Light Camera Intersection List- Phase 1
1 Baldwin Grand Ave & Merrick Rd- EB & WB
2 Baldwin Merrick Rd & Milburn Ave- SB & NB
3 Bellmore Bellmore Ave & Merrick Rd- EB & WB
4 Bellmore Bellmore Ave & Newbridge Rd- SB & NB
5 Bethpage* Stewart Ave & Central Ave- EB & WB
6 East Meadow Merrick Ave & Glen Curtiss Blvd- SB & NB
7 East Rockaway Atlantic Ave & Ocean Ave – WB & EB
8 Hicksville Old Country Rd & Hicksville Rd – SB &NB
9 Hicksville Old Country Rd & Jerusalem Ave – WB & NB
10 Hicksville/Plainview Old Country Rd & South Oyster Bay Rd – SB & EB
11 Inwood/Lawrence Austin Blvd & Empire Blvd/Long Beach Rd- NEB & SWB
12 Inwood/Lawrence Nassau Expressway & Rockaway Turnpike- NB & NEB
13 Levittown Wantagh Ave & Old Jerusalem Rd- SB & NB
14 Massapequa* Merrick Rd & Park Blvd- EB & WB
15 Merrick Merrick Rd & Merrick Ave- EB & WB
16 Oceanside* Atlantic Ave & Lawson Blvd- SB & NB
17 Oceanside Long Beach Rd & Daly Blvd- SB & NB
18 Oceanside Long Beach Rd & Mott St- SB & NB
19 Uniondale SB & NB Earl Ovington Blvd & Charles Lindbergh Blvd EB
20 Woodmere Woodmere Blvd & Peninsula Blvd- NE & SW
Locations listed alphabetically
* Locations that will be operational on August 6