November 19, 2013 at 12:00 AM
TRENTON, NJ - Despite a bipartisan plea from South Plainfield’s mayor and council, the state Department of Transportation said this week it would not require Piscataway to take down its red light cameras along South Plainfield’s border.
In a Nov. 7 letter, Assistant DOT Commissioner Anthony J. Attanasio said that Piscataway’s cameras are part of a five-year pilot program and that data from the intersections is needed so the department can “make sound safety recommendations to the Governor and State Legislature” about whether the program should continue.
According to Attanasio, while accidents may be up in South Plainfield, this is not the norm elsewhere.
“South Plainfield’s experience of increasing crash data during the first year of (red light cameras) is not unique; however, it is not the norm either,” said Attanasio. “Based on past data, (red light camera) locations as a group show across-the-board decreases in right angle, rear-end and total crashes.”
But South Plainfield Mayor Matthew Anesh remained unconvinced. “We’re seeing more accidents, plain and simple,” the mayor said. “They make the roads less safe. It’s about money, not safety.”
Anesh said he’ll continue to fight to get the cameras removed, and he urged residents to write the DOT and state legislature. “The five-year pilot ends in 2014. People need to let their legislators know that they are against this program and that it should be shelved.”
In the meantime, Anesh said he will be consulting with the borough’s lawyers to see if there is anything else that can be done about the cameras that affect South Plainfield residents. “If there is something we can do, we’ll do it,” Anesh said.