Yonkers City Council to vote on extending red light camera program

The Yonkers City Council will hold a special meeting on Thursday, May 9, to vote on extending its red light camera program for an additional five years.

Jonathan Gordon

May 9, 2024, 12:17 AM

Updated 12 days ago

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The Yonkers City Council will hold a special meeting on Thursday, May 9, to vote on extending its red light camera program for an additional five years. Thursday's vote on the home rule measure would not expand the number of cameras that currently exist.
Yonkers City Council President Lakisha Collins-Bellamy said the measure would still need to be approved by the state Legislature before it goes into recess after the first week in June.
"It's about safety to our residents," Yonkers City Council President Lakisha Collins-Bellamy said.
Red-light cameras have long been a topic of debate. Many drivers see it as a way for municipalities to make a quick buck.
"It's just a way of the city getting more money from the taxpayers and the people who live here," Yonkers native Mosaka Harris said.
But Yonkers city officials, including Mayor Mike Spano, said the program yields legitimate safety benefits. Spano acknowledged the program did initially bring money into the city but said it serves as a safety tool now that drivers know where the cameras are located.
"Very quickly people realize they shouldn't pass a light, they stop doing it and then the revenues go down," he said. "So, we don't get nearly what we used to get out of them but they are still a good tool."
News 12 filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the city's Traffic and Engineering department for the last five years' worth of data related to the red light program.
Yonkers' neighbor to the south, New York City, recently touted the ongoing success of its red light camera program.
According to the New York City Department of Transportation, 94% of vehicles that got a violation last year did not get more than two.
"Three decades of data makes it clear: red-light cameras reduce crashes and change driver behavior," New York City Department of Transportation Commission Ydanis Rodriguez wrote in his annual review of the program.
The report also found the average daily number of red-light runners declined by 73% since the program began in 1994 and there was a 65% reduction in deadly T-bone crashes at intersections with these cameras.
The city of Yonkers operates red-light cameras at 25 intersections. Anyone who is caught running a red light receives a $65 fine in the mail similar to a traffic ticket.
Thursday's special meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.


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