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Red Light, Green Light, 1, 2…Ticket

Be on the lookout Mineola, because red light cameras will be watching village motorists by the end of the summer. Nassau County will install cameras at the intersection of Mineola Boulevard and Jericho Turnpike as well as Willis Avenue and the turnpike.

 

Four cameras will be put up at the Mineola Boulevard traffic light, with three being erected at the Willis location. An additional traffic camera could not be installed at Wills because there is not enough room to place a camera for the westbound direction, according to county officials.

 

Mineola officials say they are attributed to drivers running red lights. The village would have no control over the cameras, which are a county-run operation. Village officials met with the county’s traffic division on Wednesday, June 5 to discuss the implementation of the cameras.

 

“We will have no control over these cameras or the tickets being given out to them,” Strauss said. “We will receive, in accordance with state law, no funding or revenue that is generated by those cameras.”

 

Christopher Mistron, a traffic safety coordinator for Nassau County Traffic and Safety said concerning Willis Avenue, it comes down to “constructability.”

 

“That particular area, there was no placement available,” he said. “The number of driveways prevents the proper pole placement.”

 

Mistron said the village would receive no revenue for the project and the cameras could be installed within the next 90 days. The county, based on the number of accidents that occurred due to red light infractions and accidents, chose these two intersections.

 

"The locations for all cameras are based on accidents and the nature of crashes,” Mistron stated. “Those locations showed a number of crashes that were red light running related.”

 

Strauss said the county does not need village approval to install the cameras. The county will dig down into the utility strip near the intersections to connect to the light.

 

“If it helps our senior citizens cross the street a little safer and our kids crossing the street, in addition to the cars, I’m okay with it,” he stated.

 

Mistron said intersections with red light cameras saw a 40 percent reduction in infractions, while a 32 percent decrease was seen in rear-end collisions on Long Island. He indicated the county is discussing installing Herricks Road and Jericho Turnpike as a possible camera spot.

 

“We’re actually holding off on that location presently because they reengineered the location,” he said.

 

One of Strauss’ concerns is disrupting the newly-paved Jericho Turnpike corridor.

 

“It’s literally weeks old,” Strauss said. “The county assured me they’re going to use a borring method. They’re going to go from one side of the curb or the utility strip to the other with little to minimum impact on the newly paved roads.”

 

The New York State Transportation Department restarted Mineola’s portion on April 8, which was stalled due to weather and the contractor Tully Construction’s previous commitments to other projects. Prep work on curbs and corners started before crews were pulled off the site.

 

The entire repaving project ran the length of the turnpike from the New York City line in Floral Park to Glen Cove Road. The project was originally supposed to end at Herricks Road just outside the village, but was extended through prodding by State Senator Jack Martins and Strauss.

 

“These red light cameras are obviously going to be new to us, but not new to any other municipality within the village or any fire district,” he said. “The process is already in place.”

 

When red light cameras were first installed on Long Island, it was stipulated that incorporated villages receive a portion of revenue generated from tickets. That has changed, according to Strauss. The ticket process has three steps, where an infraction is viewed by three different parties before a summons is generated. 

 

“The law is what it is now,” he said. “We could reach out to our state representatives to look to change the law in the future. But I can tell you that during that meeting, the representatives said there’s going to come a point where there is an annual maintenance fee for the cameras.”