Author: Eric Schwartz/Mon, Oct 13, 2014/Categories: Blog

Long-Island-Speed-camera-SystemMajor changes are taking place with Nassau County’s traffic camera system, drawing differing opinions from area politicians.

The Traffic and Parking Violations Agency is no longer divulging how many speed cameras are operating at any given time or when they come online, and instead has issued a list of 77 school zones where the cameras may operate, Newsday reported.

The program started a month ago and has received mixed reviews. Each week, Nassau has given Newsday a list of school zones with active speed cameras, highlighting those that are coming online.

Officials reportedly changed the system because the list frequently needs to be altered due to need in the district, making the information unreliable.

A spokesperson for County Executive Edward Mangano told Newsday the decision to not share the locations of active camera locations had nothing to do with revenue from fines and fees, which could rise if residents do not know which cameras are operating.

Only a portion of the speed cameras are operational because many are still being analyzed based on safety risk to students, traffic agency executive director John Marks told Newsday. The county operated only 28 speed cameras last week.

On Friday, the county released a list of 77 sites that have been deemed eligible for speed cameras. The state law authorizing the program only allows Nassau to operate one camera in each of the county’s 56 school districts, so at least 21 of those locations will not be active at any given time, Newsday reported.

Spokesperson Brian Nevin explained that the list of potential camera sites can change without notice and could also be expanded to any of the Nassau’s 434 public and private schools based upon need, according to Newsday.

The county is anticipating having 36 fixed cameras and 20 mobile sites in place at all 56 school districts by the end of the year, Nevin said.

The cameras generate tickets to drivers traveling more than 10 mph over the school zone speed limit and typically operate from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Drivers found in violation of the speed zones must pay $80 in fines and fees.

County Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) told Newsday she has been contacted by constituents who have received 11 tickets in just over a month and that the volume of tickets has impacting their ability to purchase needed items such as food, clothes and gas.

Jacobs, who was one of the 19 Nassau legislators who voted for the camera program, has changed her stance on the program. She wrote to Mangano last week urging him “stop the program cold, now, and reassess how to continue in a fair and equitable way, rather than starting up additional cameras,” Newsday reported.

The county expects to generate up to $30 million in annual revenue from the program, although the exact number of tickets being issued has not become public record. Last week county officials denied Newsday’s Freedom of Information Law request for information on the number of tickets issued to date, claiming that the traffic agency is exempt from the law.

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