Saturday, January 19, 2013

Letter to the Suburbanite editor: Red light cameras are an insult to citizens

Letters: Northern Valley, Oct. 11

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Northern Valley Suburbanite

Red light cameras are an insult to citizens

To the Editor:

I have been a citizen, taxpayer and biker for over 50 years in Englewood, Tenafly and Cresskill, and have used the 9W/Sylvan Avenue intersection, probably more than 5,000 times. Fortunately, I have never encountered that plethora of automobile accidents that the mayor of that town now uses as "his" excuse for installing photo technology to keep the streets of Englewood Cliffs, safe.

If the statistics quoted in your newspaper are correct, that "67,000 vehicles enter and leave that intersection every day," with 360 days, that would be 24+ million cars each year. At the rate of 40 accidents/year, that is .000002 accidents per vehicle traveling through this intersection, easily making this the safest intersection on the planet!

Statistics aside, the town recently underwent a six-month upgrade of the intersection, which probably cost many thousands of dollars. If the politicians were so concerned with the safety problems, they could have installed better lighting, wider shoulders and maybe even a traffic light which would have instructed drivers in the art of proper turning "right on red."

If there was such a dire need to slow down or even stop those aggressive drivers causing all those accidents, then simply adjust the traffic lights, and install a $10 sign….no turn on red. Unfortunately, that would not have helped offset a community budget sorely in need of financial management. If only one percent of the drivers who encounter this intersection daily, fail to stop (based on a light influenced by two lanes of traffic movement), the town benefits by more than $23,000/day or $8 million/year, without ever needing the trained eye of a police officer….now that's efficiency, and the company in Arizona who makes the cameras, gets as much of the "booty" as the town.

I think it is insulting to the citizens of Englewood Cliffs and to the great corporate population of workers, who also pay taxes in this town. For this town's political leaders to hide behind the pretext of "safety" as the measuring stick for such greed, it only shows the limitations of their public management skills.

Ironically, there is sign on that corner, upgraded many times, but which says that this is the "Billion Dollar Mile" for the value of all the corporations on the road. Now the politicians have given the sign a new meaning….the billions of dollars they steal from those corporations and their own citizens, in the name of safety!

….and yes, I am a contributor to this bounty!

Bob Hesse


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