NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city’s two red light traffic cameras are scheduled to be removed later this year, leaving the fate of the pilot program unknown.
According to city officials, the cameras are coming down due to a Middlesex County road construction project at Easton Avenue and Park Boulevard, the same corner where devices have helped local police issue more than $1 million in automated tickets over the past four years.
Whether or not the city will install them again is unknown, but the 2014 budget adopted by City Council members tonight included the "possible elimination" of the red light camera program.
"The county is going to be reconfiguring the intersection of Park and Easton," said Business Administrator Thomas Loughlin at the City Council meeting.
Officials said the county had not given a timetable for when the construction would require the removal of the camera.
Depending on the timeline, the construction project could likely be the end of New Brunswick's red light cameras unless the state legislature renews the program.
Loughlin said state approval would be required to put the cameras back up after the construction.
Securing that approval could be difficult considering the five-year statewide pilot program that brought red light cameras to NJ is set to expire on December 16th this year.
City officials declined to say whether they are anticipating the program's renewal or not.
The cameras in question have undergone immense scrutiny after the data record showed no indication that their presence increased safety at the intersection, as we reported in February.
The program's chances of renewal were also hurt after a whistleblower lawsuit was filed by a former salesman at Redflex, one of two companies that provide and manage the red light camera systems in New Jersey.
That lawsuit alleged that Redflex, the company that New Brunswick hired to run its cameras, was engaged in widespread bribery of public officials across the country, as we reported in January.
Redflex did not comment on the termination of the New Brunswick red light program.
Shortly thereafter, Brick Township became the first community in New Jersey to voluntarily cancel their red light camera program.
Brick Mayor John Ducey kept his campaign promise to end the town's contract with American Traffic Solutions, citing public safety.
"I’m not convinced that our intersections are safer and, therefore, come Feb. 18, 2014, there will no longer be red-light cameras in our community here in Brick Township," Ducey said.