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New Red Light Cameras are Up at Three Intersections, But Not Working - Yet

The three new intersections fitted with cameras to take pictures of red light jumpers await final approval by the state DOT before tickets start going out.

Drivers who might have been nervously eyeing the installation of red light cameras at three new intersections in Woodbridge shouldn't fear - yet.

According to town spokesman John Hagerty, the cameras still aren't operational.

"We're waiting for [the NJ Dept. of Transportation] to give us the OK," Hagerty said.

The three new places in Woodbridge where drivers who run red lights will have their license plates automatically photographed and be mailed $140 tickets have had the cameras and the warning signs posted for at least a month.

Two of the new red light camera intersections are southbound from the original one on Route 1. The first cameras were installed last year at the Avenel St. intersection. The new ones are at Route 1 and Green St. and Route 1 and Gill Lane, with a third new outpost at Route 184/West Pond Road, at the entrance to Walmart.

Woodbridge was one of the first municipalities in the state to partake in the red light five-year pilot program, said John Dee, spokesman for NJ Dept. of Transportation. All four approaches to the Avenel St. and Route 1 intersection are wired with the license plate-capturing camera system, which began in July, 2010.

The program proved so successful that the township applied for the red light cameras to be installed at three more intersections this year.

Dee said his department was waiting to hear from Woodbridge that the cameras were installed.

"Once we approve a location and authorize it, we do go out and make sure the installation was done properly," Dee said. 

For the first thirty days after activation, drivers who zip through red lights are sent a warning. After that, they receive tickets that are the same price as if a policeman had pulled over a driver and handed them a ticket for going through a red light.

In the case of Woodbridge, the fine is $140. But there's some consolation for drivers who get a ticket via a snapshot of their license plate: they don't get any points. Drivers who get their tickets the old fashioned way, via policeman-issued tickets, earn two points on their licenses, according to Dee.

The point of the camera program "is about safety, to see if they reduce crashes at these intersections," said Dee.

Jennifer Kim of the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) said it appears to be more about revenue. "There's a lot of money to be made from this," she said.

PIRG recently put out a special study on the red light camera program, warning that some companies that install and service the cameras have contracts that don't charge municipalities a flat fee.

That means that they may try to increase revenues by other means, such as changing the timing on yellow lights to yield more traffic tickets.

"There isn't a lot of transparency on this whole thing. It's a fast growing phenomenon," Kim said.

The cameras placed throughout Woodbridge are installed and maintained by American Traffic Solutions (ATS), one of the few companies that install "95 percent of the cameras," Kim said.

In New Jersey, all ATS contracts are a flat rate, said company spokeswoman Kate Coulson. "In New Jersey, ATS charges a flat fee of $4,750 per intersection approach for red-light safety camera  technology.   This includes the red-light safety cameras equipment, the installation, maintenance, violation processing services, call center support and ATS staff services," Coulson said.

The fee is a monthly rate. In the case of a four-way intersection where all roads have cameras trained on them, the cost would be $4,750 per road, or $19,000 a month, Coulson said. 

The maintenance cost per four-way intersection is $228,000 a year, as in the Route 1 and Avenel St. cameras, but the cameras pay for their upkeep.

In the nine months between August 2010 and May 2011, red light tickets in Woodbridge brought in $1,240,526, with the township getting $632,837 of that, according to a report at newjerseynewsroom.com.

No tickets are sent out without the red light camera photographs first being examined by a police officer, Hagerty said. "We're careful to make sure that it's correct," he said.

AndrewZ November 22, 2011 at 06:26 PM
$49 red light camera detector - www.gpsangel.com
generalno November 22, 2011 at 09:38 PM
When the voters catch on, they'll throw their elected bosses out and unhappily pay millions to camera distributors.who will win lawsuits for breach of contract.
maryann spager November 23, 2011 at 02:09 PM
"Some companies might increase revenues by changing the timing on yellow lights to yield more traffic tickets." And we are supposed to trust this system? This will cause more fender benders when a driver stops short to avoid going through a yellow light, causing the car behind to possibly run into him/her. Whoever dreamed up this scam is laughing all the way to the bank!
Brian Ceccarelli November 24, 2011 at 03:57 AM
Maryann, you are correct. Do not trust the system. RLC companies exploit a world-wide misapplication of the international standard that determines the length of yellow lights. The standard is the ITE Yellow Change Interval formula. The only case where the formula works is for drivers going straight thru the intersection who can proceed to the intersection at no less than the speed limit. For all other cases the formula forces drivers to run red lights. The formula does not provide any time for drivers to slow down before entering the intersection. That's the catch. When a light turns yellow, any driver approaching the intersection at the speed limit, who must slow down just before entering the intersection, by the laws of physics will be forced to run a red light. All turning drivers are screwed. They slow down to begin turning. All drivers who slow down for the cars waiting at the next intersection are screwed. Even for straight-thru movement, the formula provides no margin of error. In an instant of time, the mandate to go replaces the mandate to stop. If you misguess by 1/10th of a second, you will run a red light. This is a billion $ scam . . . the biggest scam the world ever seen. City Councils are oblivious to the scam and today's government traffic engineers are too stupid to understand the proper application of their formula. For scientific proof, refer to http://redlightrobber.com/red/scam.html.
maryann spager November 24, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Thank you, Brian, for your clear and concise explanation. And thanks for the link. I hope everyone reads this and follows-up.
Jeff November 27, 2011 at 04:54 AM
Gee , what did the town do with the $632,837.00 they made in 9 months off 1 intersection????12 months could be $850,000.00 , 3 lights could be 2 million pluss.Are They going to lower any ones Tax's ?? No! The more they get the more they spend and they still want MORE.
maryann spager November 27, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Let's put this on the ballot and let the voters decide whether or not they should be taken down.
maryann spager November 27, 2011 at 02:00 PM
Officials are removing the lights in Albequerque NM, stating that there is no clear cut evidence that they cut down on accidents. http://www.krqe.com/dpp/traffic/traffic_cams/State-orders-red-light-cameras-removed
Jeff November 28, 2011 at 02:14 AM
I wont make a left turn on avenel street in either direction because if you follow another car out and try to make a left and they just sit in the intersection till it goes yellow your screwed out in the intersection stranded in a red light. If you sit at the quick check and watch the flash of the camera. This thing is taking pictures on green lights. If the fire house stops the trafic lights when comeing home to the fire house the camera is clicking away. Just watch the flash on the poles. Im sure more than half of the tickes the town makes money from are Bogus. But who needs to take a day off work and sit in city court to fight it only to be found guilty by our money judge. Now that I know there is no way to punch the gas and make the light , Im going to slam on the breaks when it goes yellow. maby Ill get a cop car to slam into my rear. Yellow is now the new STOP or pay $140.00 How many 18 wheeler trucks did they nab. You cant stop fast or excell to beet the light. Look at all the new skid marks or rt 1 folks trying to stop. It does go from yellow to red verry fast.
Deborah Bell (Editor) November 28, 2011 at 09:46 AM
To be fair, the town spokesman said that all photographs are reviewed by a police officer before tickets are sent out. And the state DOT told me that the timing of the lights hasn't been changed. The reason is that this is an experiment to see if the red camera tickets have any impact on people running red lights, and it would foul the whole thing up if the timing was interfered with. That being said, it's obviously not a perfect system, which explains why Albequerque is removing them. I'd like to hear from anyone who got a ticket from a red light camera, and what, if anything, they did about it.
Brian Ceccarelli November 28, 2011 at 01:25 PM
Deborah, the mentality of the police is to give everyone a ticket. That is what police do. Their assumption is always that it is the driver's fault. Police know nothing about engineering matters, which is where the fault really lies, and that makes the police ineffective. Of course they are not going to change the yellow light times. The times are the problem. The standard by which they set the yellow light times forces drivers to run red lights. The reason why NM, nor any State, hasn't seen any a decrease in crashes, is because red light camera enforcement assumes the problem is driver behavior. The problem is not driver behavior. It is engineering. It is the engineer's fault for misapplying their own standard to set yellow light times. Their standard violates Natural Law. And therefore, that standard forces millions of drivers to run red lights. Cities, at the coercion of the red light camera companies, exploit that violation at the expense of innocent drivers. Can an engineer remove a yellow light from a signal? No, because certainly that would indeed be the cause of red light runners. So will a 1 second yellow light time prevent red light running? No. It is not long enough. How long should the yellow light be? The answer has already been solved by Isaac Newton in 1677. Traffic engineers do not know Newton's Laws. That is why there are millions red light runners.
maryann spager November 28, 2011 at 03:07 PM
Deborah, I know of two instances of red light camera ticketing; one, who in order to avoid crashing into a car that stopped short, veered to the right, ending up in the intersection; the other, stopped short slightly into the intersection on an amber light. Both paid the fine rather than take a day off work and sit in court--exactly what is expected.
Lou Alvarez December 10, 2011 at 07:27 PM
What happening to this country went everything is about money,money any money ,this is no right ,in no way .this is bullshit let find a way to warn people their are camera's ,We have to start now any go ideal "s call 732 762 5648 ,This will hurt the milddle class and poor to much ,please let"start now
Lou Alvarez December 10, 2011 at 07:41 PM
Why dont the town put big signs up over the highway 100 feet before carmera's showing you are being watch ,this will help the amercia people from not stressing about hundred fourty dallor fine ,that dont make a day pay,who makes out thy or you
Jeff December 11, 2011 at 01:57 AM
Lou, The cops would most likley give you a ticket for abstructing police from inforcing the law. Like they do when you flash your High beems at oncoming cars to warn them that there is a speed trap or a cop with radar hiding up ahead. Or you would need to buy a permit to put up a warning sign. I also heard Woodbridge Is hireing 13 more cops. I guess the money is rolling in like mad down at townhall. Most towns are cutting back. Woodbridge is spending it as fast as they can get it. Tax and spend !!!!!!!
Frank February 01, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Whatever happened to being able to confront your accuser??????? Let them drag the camera into court !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nadia August 07, 2012 at 01:36 AM
I am from New York, and got sent a ticket 14 days after being nabbed by the red light camera on Avenel Street. I live on the border of Bergen County, NJ and Rockland County, NY so I'm obviously not from this area. I did some research and learned that I should have received a warning first? Is this true? I also don't believe I saw a no turn on red sign. Where I reside, and even in some parts of Bergen County, you are able to make the right unless there is a sign posted. Can I fight this ticket?
So Much to Say August 07, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Warning????? Not in Woodbridge. You thinking about fighting it? Don't bother....Not in Woodbridge.

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