Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 30, 2013

City of Tonawanda residents seeing red over traffic cameras

Niagara Gazette — CITY OF TONAWANDA — Local drivers are protesting an initiative to install red-light cameras at three busy intersections after the council passed a resolution to start the planning process.

The agreement with Phoenix-based Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., will come at no cost to the city. The program is still subject to state approval, and if it is granted, the new council will have to pass another resolution authorizing the use of the cameras.

The cameras would be added to the intersections of Niagara and Seymour streets, Delaware and Broad streets and the Twin City Highway and Young Street. If the plan is approved, the cameras could be installed in March.

Mayor Elect Rick Davis, who will be sworn in Wednesday, said he supports the project and Police Chief William Strassburg’s recommendation.

“We really can’t put an officer at those intersections to watch people running red lights,” Davis said. “After talking with the chief, talking with RedFlex and watching some footage from the intersections ... it’s obviously a problem that needs to be addressed.”

The resolution was passed earlier this month with little discussion, but some area drivers are now speaking up in opposition to the proposal. Some are simply concerned about receiving the $50 tickets, while others have called the plans a “money grab scheme.”

“If that was the case, we would be putting them up at more intersections than we are,” Davis said. “If there is revenue generated from the red-light cameras, we’ll discuss putting it back into public safety in some shape or form.”

Joshua Dubs, an attorney who lives in North Tonawanda, said he opposes the plans for different reasons. Dubs, who helped fight a similar proposal in Buffalo, argued that a company — with no interests in Buffalo — shouldn’t be policing Tonawanda.

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