Over the last several days, somebody from the department of transportation showed up near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Union Street and turned a traffic camera, whose lenses had been pointed toward local wine shop Red, White and Bubbly, back toward the street. The representative(s?) of the department came after an inquiry from the Park Slope Patch. “Delivery trucks run into it every day. That’s why it’s turned towards us,” an employee of the store told the news site. But why did it take a media inquiry to draw the department’s attention to the mispointed camera? Shouldn’t they have noticed they weren’t getting any data?
“That’s not a red light camera and it doesn’t work. That’s not how they look anyway,” the employee explained to Patch.
DOT acknowledges this is not a red-light camera, but won’t confirm that it’s a decoy. The neighborhood has accepted that this camera is actually a dummy, though, a scarecrow, frightening motorists into obeying red light laws like a plastic owl keeps pigeons off your roof. Which, hey, has its benefits, except you can’t keep it up forever. According to the Patch:
The DOT’s website states their studies have shown a 40 percent decrease where the red light cameras have been installed. From 1993 through 2007 the cameras have issued more than 4 million summonses and about 88 percent of those tickets have found the motorist guilty for it’s near impossible to contest photographic evidence of a driver driving through a red light…Eduardo Sandoval, the manager of Body Reserve on Fifth Avenue, said ‘the eye in the sky’ initially lowered the average speed and helped people drive better and more responsibly. But, once it was “known to be a fake camera,” cars started to speed again.