Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Suburbanite: Red light cameras getting people for failing to make complete stop in Englewood Cliffs

Red light cameras getting people for failing to make complete stop in Englewood Cliffs

Thursday, September 27, 2012


ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS — Red light cameras installed at the intersection of Palisade and Sylvan avenues continue to be a hot topic in Englewood Cliffs, with residents and even council members receiving tickets for not coming to a complete stop.

Police Chief Michael Cioffi stressed to residents and officials at the mayor and council meeting on Sept. 12 to come to a complete stop before turning on red, as many people have been performing rolling stops and receiving tickets.

"We looked a long time ago into the red light program to hopefully lessen accidents and lessen the injury and property damage that occurs with accidents," Cioffi said.

He said the borough did a 30-day trial and gave warnings that the test was occurring. As of May, the cameras became active and the police started to issue summonses to violators.

In June, the state Department of Transportation halted the use of all but 22 cameras in the state after determining that the yellow lights might not be giving drivers enough time to pass through the intersections.

After the DOT conducted speed surveys and ensured all cameras were in compliance with the law they restored the use of the cameras.

"Everything was proper, the engineer did their testing and we were cleared," Cioffi said.

He added the traffic department is behind on summons.

"We have 90 days to issue the summons; we are a bit backed up. The traffic office is reviewing the violations and if there is a violation they issue the tickets," Cioffi said.

The fine for running a red light at this intersection is $85. Of this amount, the state gets $11.50, The Red Flex Group, which the borough hired in March 2011, will get $38.50 and the borough gets $35.

The borough sent a letter to residents and businesses about the cameras, and put up signs and warnings in the newspapers about the cameras, Cioffi said.

"We put messages at each intersection to try to make people cautious and to be aware, and we might be putting them back out there again. We don't want to give out tickets to everyone," Cioffi said.

A survey from the DOT reported that approximately 66,976 vehicles enter the intersection everyday and there are 35-40 motor vehicle accidents at this location annually.

Cioffi said the accidents have slowed down a bit since the cameras were installed, but added it would take some time to see the real effects. He added the borough is looking into adding the cameras at Bayview Avenue to see if they might be useful, but he said they need the statistics to back this up.

One resident at the mayor and council meeting said sometimes when he does come to a full stop, the camera will still take a photo if he didn't stop directly on the line.

He also asked how much money the borough has made so far. Mayor Joseph Parisi said a lot of money has been made, but did not give a precise figure.

Another issue with the fines was that residents and non-residents cannot currently pay with a credit card.

Cioffi confirmed that the judge is requesting a credit card machine and added violators have been paying online and people can also come in and pay with checks.

"A lot of checks have been coming in," Cioffi said.


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