A home-based view of the street

By Corene Brisendine

Is traffic backed up on Fort Riley Boulevard? Is there snow on Seth Child Road? Now, drivers can find out without leaving home.

As part of the overall network of traffic signals in Manhattan, the city has been installing cameras at various intersections to give motorists a heads-up on road conditions at those locations.

“We currently have 12 that are active,” said Peter Clark, civil design engineer for the city. “We are trying to extend that, but obviously it is connected to funding and timing.”

He said they hope to have two more installed next month — one at Seth Child and Anderson Avenue, and at Seth Child and Claflin Road.

Clark said the cameras are designed to monitor traffic and road conditions at the intersections by taking a photo every five minutes. Those images are saved to a folder and uploaded automatically to the city’s website.

He said that the city does not archive the photos and as the photos are saved to the specific location, the previous file is overwritten with the new one.

“We don’t want to have any liability to be subpoenaed for information or any of that kind of stuff,” he said.

As far as accidents, he said the cameras would take a picture by chance and it would only be up during the five-minute window. He said that is because the system is not designed to monitor accidents at the intersections, but to monitor traffic conditions, especially during inclement weather.

“If the roads are snow-packed or if it has been plowed, before citizens of Manhattan head out onto the street, they can see what those intersections look like,” he said.

He said the goal is to have every traffic light in town connected to the system, but not every signal will have a camera. He said the In-Sync system recently installed on Anderson Avenue between Sunset Avenue and 14th Street are part of the overall network, but not specifically associated with the camera traffic monitoring system.

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