Cheese! Red-light cameras to double


Red light means stop. Green light means go. And if you forget that basic maxim on the streets of New York, prepare to smile for the red-light cameras.

The city is about to get approval to double the number of red-light cameras in the five boroughs to 100 from 50.

The legislation is on its way to Gov. Pataki, who is expected to approve it, aides said.

The owners of cars that get caught running red lights are directed to pay fines when they get a summons in the mail, complete with the candid photo of the license plate on the offending car or truck.

"This is going to save lives because it has become a very good deterrent to stop people from running red lights," said state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Queens), a prime sponsor of the measure.

Public safety is not the only beneficiary. City Hall estimates the move will yield $13 million a year in new revenue from the fines generated by the new cameras, according to Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette (D-Queens), who helped Padavan shepherd the bill through his chamber.

"As soon as you put a red-light camera in at an intersection, the number of collisions there will drop by 70% in a matter of months," Lafayette said.

Mayor Bloomberg made a big push for the legislation and succeeded in getting Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to allow a floor vote in the lower chamber, where similar measures have gotten bottled up in earlier years, Padavan said.

Aides to Bloomberg said the administration is pleased that the legislation finally passed.

The city Department of Transportation will pick the intersections where the new cameras will be installed.

Originally published on June 28, 2006