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The Future of Brick's Red Light Cameras

New camera will most likely be up and running in 3-4 months

Brick has bucked the trend.

Despite most communities with red light cameras seeing a drop-off in ticket revenue after six months to a year, Brick's cameras at two intersections – Route 70 and Chambers Bridge Road and Brick Boulevard and Chambers Bridge Road – are recording just as many violations as ever.

That produces revenue for the township, but makes the jobs of those who must predict how much revenue the cameras will produce in the future that much harder.

Township officials have formally projected $200,000 in revenue from Brick's current traffic cameras this year, since most towns see revenue dip after word gets out that the cameras are live.

"People know that the cameras are out there," said Police Chief Nils R. Bergquist while addressing the overall police budget before the township council this week. "We can only go on the projections that the vendor provides us. I'd hate to rely on an income that doesn't materialize."

The township collected $552,101 in 2011 through the month of November out of $929,701 in summonses issued. The difference was collected by American Traffic Solutions, the company that owns Brick's red light cameras.

Despite the cautious approach, however, Business Administrator Scott Pezarras the township's red light cameras are producing as many tickets as ever.

In Brick, the rate of tickets issued remained steady through 2011. The camera at the Brick Boulevard intersection first came online in February 2010 and the Route 70 camera first started nabbing red-light runners in October 2010.

Brick Police Capt. John Rein said on average, 950 to 1,100 summonses are issued each month. In 2011, he said, police officers reviewed about 13,000 violations and issued 12,000 summonses.

"It fluctuates with holidays, seasons and traffic flow," Rein said.

The violations reviewed by Brick officers are first whittled down by American Traffic Solutions.

More Cams Planned

Last year, the township council approved cameras at two additional intersections – the merge of Route 70 and Brick Boulevard, and Route 88 and Post Road.

Revenue from those approved, but not yet built, cameras is not allowed to be counted in this year's budget.

Bergquist said one of the cameras, the one which will be placed at Route 70 and Brick Boulevard, is expected to be operational in the next three to four months. There will be a grace period before the cameras there begin issuing valid summonses.

State approvals may mean the camera at Route 88 and Post Road will take longer to bring online, officials said.

Future of Red Light Cams, Revenue in Question

If one state legislator has his way, however, the revenue stream public officials have come to rely on in the red light cameras could be unraveled.

Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon (R-Monmouth) has come out against red light cameras, telling the Newark Star-Ledger earlier this year that the cameras amount to "automatic taxing machines."

If the cameras, which are currently legal in New Jersey only in certain municipalities under a pilot program, must be removed, the police budget will take a hit, Bergquist said.

"We'd have to make some adjustments in a substantial way in our budget," said Bergquist. "It's something that we're following very closely."

Bergquist said red light cameras are designed to make intersections safer by training drivers to obey traffic signals. Over time, fewer tickets are issued as drivers become more aware that a camera is active.

Revenue aside, making up for such a level of traffic enforcement would be difficult, Bergquist said. The same level of enforcement by uniformed police officers – 24 hours per day at two intersections – would cost about $3 million.

The violations produced by the cameras are reviewed by officers several hours at a time, often by officers working light duty assignments due to injuries sustained on the job.

"In my opinion, the red light traffic camera is the ultimate in doing more with less, if you look at the production versus the costs," Bergquist said.

darrell April 05, 2012 at 02:01 AM
If I'm correct, I don't think the township has anything to do with setting the time on the traffic lights. Does anyone know if I'm right?
10% Tax Cut NOW April 05, 2012 at 02:17 AM
There could be timed boxs, weighed intersections or movement camera's maybe in place. Regarding the placement of the new red light camera @ 70 and Brick Blvd. is it strange that $ 300k was received last week for the same area ?
Not So Dumb April 05, 2012 at 10:34 AM
I believe this was mentioned before. The State sets the timing on yellow lights. Typically a yellow light will last depending on the speed limit of the major road. Since Rt. 70 has a speed limit of 50mph the yellow light will last 5 seconds, pleanty of time to stop. The inatallation of Red Light Camaras is in process on Rt. 70 and Brick Blvd. Won't be long before those that have gotten tickets will renew their complaining. And, there's no need to be concerned about turning on Red. The town nor the red light company can change the timing on any signal.
Hollowman April 12, 2012 at 07:48 PM
just re-reading some of these comments, thought I'd clear something that people seem to believe they know. pertaining to the people who all say the camera's take away from actual officers discretion if he was at that intersection, EVERY camera ticket has to be viewed and verified by a police officer in the Traffic Safety dept of brick police. so in reality, if he was not likely to pull you over for it on the road, you're not likely to get a ticket for it from the camera, since the officer is the one actually issuing the ticket. Also, be mindful when rt 70/brick blvd camera goes up, as brick blvd is a 35 mph zone right there, and the yellow light onto 70 east bound is timed accord to that speed limit, so it is short. since most people dont do 35 there, and are speeding, most people also run the light as they feel they didnt have time to stop, or that the yellow is "too short." in fact it is not too short, you are simply going too fast. as far as you being in the intersection as it turns from yellow to red, and fearing you are going to be cited for running the red as you passed the opposite side while it was red, the camera takes three photos of a vehicle it believes ran a red light; one on its approach to the intersection, one in the intersection, and one as its leaving the intersection. either the company will see you did not in fact run the light, and will not submit the video for officer review, or the police officer will review the video and not issue you a ticket
Joseph Woolston Brick January 02, 2013 at 05:12 AM
I don't think there will be any more red light cameras installed in Brick or anywhere else in the state, The report is in and........... http://millburn.patch.com/articles/new-jerseys-red-light-camera-program-has-failed

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