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South Plainfield Residents Criticize Piscataway’s Red Light Cameras

Sunday, September 1, 2013 • 5:00am

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – In the five days since The Alternative Press of South Plainfield released an analysis showing a 50% spike in auto crashes near red light cameras along the Piscataway border, the reactions from South Plainfield residents are anything but vague.  

“It’s not for driver safety,” said South Plainfield resident Walter Leonard, “but a way to make money.  Period!”

“They are dangerous,” added Judith Wanthouse. 

Wanthouse and Leonard’s comments were typical of those posted on The Alternative Press of South Plainfield’s Facebook page.

 “I abhor these cameras with a passion,” said Greg Heim when telling fellow readers his opinion. 

Another resident explained how he received two tickets in the mail the day before the article hit.  “I will be counting my Mississippi’s as I stop at the light before the white line,” said Ken Wolpin. 

Wolpin explained how Piscataway has a special court night just to handle red-light-camera tickets.  “This entire issue is extremely frustrating,” he said.

Walter Thompson explained why he thinks accidents are up. “People see the yellow light and jump on the brakes to avoid getting a ticket, only to be rear ended,” he said.

Readers also criticized Piscataway for installing the cameras.  “Those cameras only make money for Piscataway” said one reader. “It’s a trap and a money maker,” added South Plainfield resident Sharon Lemos Scalera.

While the story highlighted the problems that Piscataway’s red light cameras cause in South Plainfield, the findings received statewide attention.  News 12 New Jersey ran a television feature based on the story, and radio stations WWOR and NJ-101.5 used the findings as fodder for talk-radio programing.  

Longtime South Plainfield resident Jay Edmondson expressed the sentiment most people did statewide.  “They are just money makers,” said Edmondson.  He went on to explain how Arizona removed the cameras when the state saw an increase in accidents.

Based on the increase in accidents, South Plainfield Mayor Matt Anesh has announced that he plans to introduce a resolution Tuesday night asking the state’s Department of Transportation to require Piscataway and Middlesex County to remove the cameras.  Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan pledged to support the effort, as well as vote against the cameras when the legislature revisits them next year.

The Alternative Press of South Plainfield contacted Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler and Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald Rios for comment but neither responded.  Both Piscataway and Middlesex County receive a portion of the $85 fine.     

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