Wallkill would need new law to get red-light cameras

TOWN OF WALLKILL — The Town of Wallkill is asking the state to look into putting red-light cameras on the busiest part of Route 211.

The town has received numerous complaints from residents about people speeding through yellow and red lights in that area, said Supervisor Dan Depew. The area the town is asking about — from Tower Drive to Silver Lake-Scotchtown Road — is one of the busiest stretches of road in the region, near I-84 and Route 17 and major shopping areas.

“It’s a dangerous situation,” he said. “Our police officers do what they can to enforce it, but the volume of traffic, at certain times of year, balloons up incredibly.”

The state would need to pass a new law for the cameras to become a reality here — New York City was the only place they were allowed until 2009, when Long Island, Yonkers, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo all received authorization for them, too.

The town board approved the request unanimously last Thursday night; they’re sending to the letter to the state Department of Transportation this week, Depew said. Councilman Eric Valentin said he often sees people running the lights to make turns at Orange Plaza and the Galleria.

“If this is going to, in any way, stop or make people think twice before they take that action, I think it’s a good thing,” he said.

Two members of the public spoke on the issue Thursday. Ron Stumpp, who is a defensive driving instructor, supported the move.

“Let’s be the town where safe drivers are welcomed,” he said.

Vince Ferri opposed it, saying the cameras have been abused in New York City, where three drivers recently filed a lawsuit alleging the yellow-light cycles there are shorter than the federally mandated three seconds. Also, he said, the cameras catch a car’s registered owner, who isn’t always the person driving.

“I think it’s an abuse of the citizen to use enforcement like that, and aside from that, it’s a crime against property,” he said.

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