Enforcement by Entrapment
by John Falcone IIIIf you think you know where all of those pesky traffic cameras are on Staten Island, think again.
Sure, there are plenty intersections that have red light cameras which many Island motorists are aware of; the corner of Hylan Boulevard and Burbank Avenue in front of Shoprite, the intersection of Travis Avenue and Richmond Avenue by Barnes and Noble, and there is one just outside of campus to terrorize students on their way to classes at the corner of Victory Boulevard and Morani Street. But, in addition to the many red light cameras that have popped up throughout the Island over the years, drivers now have to deal with a slew of bus lane cameras, traffic flow monitors, and speed cameras.
School Zone Speed Cameras
Thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” traffic initiative, a plan that he has implemented with the goal of reducing the city’s traffic fatalities to zero in the next 10 years, you need to pay extra attention to your speed when you are near a school. Yours truly found this out the hard way recently, as I was blatantly entrapped by one of these cameras outside of St. Charles Catholic elementary school near the corner of Tysens Lane and Hylan Blvd. Before you send hate mail to The Banner about its staff trying to justify breaking the law, hear me out.
Having lived in the area of this intersection for a while, I knew of the red light camera which was located at this intersection, so one afternoon a few months ago I approached the intersection and saw that the light was about to change, so I sped up and cleared the intersection.
Little did I know that this camera was now doubling as one of de Blasio’s vaunted speed cameras. It caught me doing the ungodly speed of 51 in a 35.
I figured all of this out when I received a $50 summons in the mail a few weeks later.
Bus Lane Cameras
The summer of 2013 saw the launch of the MTA’s S79 SBS (Select Bus Service) bus line, which utilized hard to miss red painted bus lanes to help buses cut through rush hour traffic.
In order to enforce these “bus only” lanes, the DOT (Dept. of Transportation) installed 10 bus lane cameras which photograph your license plate and send a $115 fine to your mailbox. Massive controversy erupted over this last fall when in their first two months these cameras issued more than 7,000 violations totaling over $800,000 in fines. Many of the tickets issued were done so by cameras which Island politicians have said are placed at points where they are guaranteed to catch a motorist who wasn’t trying to flaunt the law, but simply trying to drive.
“Sometimes it’s physically impossible for you to safely navigate yourself from the right lane that you turned into…which is the bus lane, to the center lane,” Borough President James Oddo told the Staten Island Advance. “Now you’ve failed [exit the bus lane,] you get a ticket.”
Traffic Flow Monitors
As if being entrapped by speed cameras and bus lane cameras isn’t enough of a burden for Island drivers, your movements are also being monitored.
In the spring of 2013, the DOT installed at least 5 EZ-Pass scanning devices at major intersections along Hyland Blvd. The DOT claims the system is in place to help monitor traffic and make adjustments to traffic light sequencing. The DOT also claims that your individual EZ-Pass tag information is scrambled, though it admits that all of our movements are conveniently posted on the internet.
“Readers collect aggregate traffic information only, which is scrambled and does not identify individual motorists,” said DOT spokesman Nicholas Mosquera. “This data [is] viewable by anyone in the public on http://www.nyctmc.org and at http://www.511ny.org.”
Though the locations of school zone speed cameras are kept under wraps by the DOT, many motorists will soon be finding out the hard way where they are.
In order to help you avoid red light tickets, bus lane tickets and unwanted EZ-Pass scanning, the map below shows known locations of traffic enforcement cameras on the Island.