Starting tomorrow, April 1st, Roselle Park will become one of just a dozen municipalities in New Jersey that will have a red-light camera system – the borough will have cameras at the intersection of Locust Street and West Westfield Avenue. Although in operation, drivers who get caught running a red light at the intersection will simply be sent a warning without a fine for the month of April. After then, summonses will be issued at $85 for each violation although no points will be assessed on a driver’s record.
“The warning period will give residents an opportunity to become familiar with the system. We encourage people to slow down and definitely stop on red before the actual citations begin,” Police Chief Paul W. Morrison stated, “This is a public safety program, and our goal is to deter red-light runners and prevent collisions resulting from these violations.”
Mayor Joseph Accardi, in a statement to the newspaper, wanted to make it clear that the cameras, which take pictures as photographic evidence, must show the car entering the intersection after the light is already red. He added, “I am hopeful that the red light cameras at West Westfield Avenue & Locust Street will help deter motorists from committing a red light violation and thereby make this intersection safer for all motorists who travel through Roselle Park.”
In November of 2009, Cynthia C. Lukas was struck by a vehicle and killed at the intersection. Alex Flores was charged with careless driving, driving without insurance, and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in her death.
Although the cameras have the support of the police, the governing body, and residents, there have been critics of the program which is administered by American Traffic Solutions, Inc. (ATS). There have been claims of the system itself violating the sixth amendment of the United States Constitution which, in part, reads “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to be confronted with the witnesses against him”. Additionally, other governing bodies throughout the country have reviewed their red light camera systems and voted to have them removed, sometimes just a year after having them installed – most recently in Washington State and Florida. The contract between Roselle Park and ATS is for three (3) years.
The ATS units are on all four (4) corners of the intersection with each camera pointed towards the intersection. Below is a gallery of photos from all four (4) camera units. It should be noted that two (2) of them, the ones on Locust Street, are partially blocked from clear view to approaching traffic.