Suffolk County lawmakers unanimously approved the installation of red-light cameras at 50 additional intersections on Tuesday, despite complaints from the public about the technology’s efficiency.
Officials did not specify when or where the new cameras would be installed. Once operational, there will be a total of 100 red-light camera equipped street corners countywide.
Suffolk officials received authorization from the New York State Legislature in March to double the amount of its cameras after the program was approved and launched about three years ago in Nassau and Suffolk.
Nassau also will add 50 new red-light cameras to the 50 currently operational in that county.
The red-light cameras are reportedly expected to generate about $6 million annually for each county—much-needed revenue that comes as officials on both sides of the county line are struggling with multi-million dollar budget gaps.
But some citizens argue that improvements need to be made before more red light cameras are installed. They say that the length of time of the yellow light varies across the county, making it difficult for them to determine whether or not to stop early.
“This system has many deficiencies and inconsistencies and is being run in an unsafe matter,” Thomas Buttaro, of Port Jefferson, told the legislature before the vote.
Suffolk officials had approached the state about making yellow lights longer, chief county engineer William Hillman reportedly said two weeks ago at a meeting with county legislators.
Patrick Gallagher, of Centereach, said he went around timing the different lights himself and found that the yellow lights ranged from 4 to 5 seconds, with none of them meeting the state standard of 5.4 seconds in a 55 mph zone.
“What I hope you do is slam the brakes on this program, until you get the yellow light intervals set correctly,” Gallagher said.