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Big Brother on Detroit Avenue? Not Really

City installs camera sensors at new traffic signals to monitor traffic flow.

Is "Big Brother" watching over Lakewood?

Judging by the new cameras perched atop the city’s new traffic poles, one might think so.

That’s not the case, say Lakewood officials.

As part of the city’s nearly , the city has recently installed several video cameras that detect and monitor traffic flow.

The cameras — now permanent fixtures — aren’t intended to catch speeders or other criminal acts, city officials said.

“They’re basically sensors that detect whether a car is waiting,” said Mayor Michael Summers, adding that the sensors will need adjusted to reflect their sensitivity to bicycles.

Signals used to be tripped by underground wires that detected when a vehicle pulled up to an intersection. 

Regular traffic patterns should be figured out sometime by the end of October, Summers said.

“We’ve had a dowton development strategy for about eight years,” he said. “And it’s working. Now guess what? We’re getting a lot of congestion.”

The $3 million Detroit Avenue project is funded mostly with federal CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality) funds, with the remaining 20 percent coming from city funds. 

The Detroit signal project is part of the city’s overall traffic signal replacement program, occurring in five stages. Clifton Boulevard was phase one. Detroit Avenue is phases two and three. Phase four will include Madison Avenue and phase five will include Franklin Boulevard and Hilliard Road. 

“It’s been a long project,” Summers said. “Remember, we started tearing up sidewalks last summer. We’re going to be finishing up the first phase — 117th Street to Arthur Avenue — probably around the end of July. Then we’ve got to start to synchronize and make sure traffic is adjusted correctly.”

Pat Ballasch July 02, 2012 at 01:51 PM
That's some strange spin. These devises ARE CAMERAS. (A little creepy) A good question would have been "How are the cameras monitored and how long are the images stored? " Years ago I was with a small group watching some "Best of local C.O.P. arrest footage". I doubt most people were aware this type of thing was floating around. I think It would be a good idea to make sure the camera images are disposed of properly. Lets try to minimize how much of our lives become a peep show.
Peter Grossetti July 02, 2012 at 03:02 PM
obey the law, keep your nose clean; act like a moral human being and you shouldn't have any problem, right? I am reminded of the famous line from Shakespeare's Hamlet, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
Alex Vandehoff July 02, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Right, because someone at City Hall wants to watch you pick your nose while you wait for a red light. These have been on Clifton for the last two years. Seen any footage from those yet? Can you dig some up online? I'm guessing no, which makes it a non-issue.
Mark justmark July 02, 2012 at 06:43 PM
While this isn't specific to the new signals in Lakewood, you may want to read this webpage for some helpful information: http://www.modot.org/stlouis/links/signalcameras.htm Generally speaking, these "cameras" function exclusively as sensors which detect the presence of a waiting vehicle. The cameras have fixed mounts and fixed focal lengths. The imagery is very low quality and not archived. Some systems don't even use visible light. Further, no one should have any expectation of privacy in a public space. There are cameras everywhere, including on everyone's cell phones. A person can stand on the street corner and take pictures of every vehicle and pedestrian that passes by, all day long, every day of the week. And there is nothing anyone can do about it. It is completely legal.
Steve July 02, 2012 at 07:06 PM
@Mark-unless of course you mount a camera to your shoe to look up ladies dresses, That is illegal right? I also love the fact that police cars have dash-cams, They can incriminate themselves, legally that is...
Alexandra July 03, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Why do the lights not go all the way to 117th? They seemed to stop at Ridgewood.
Shawn Huff July 05, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Lakewood Police does have cameras around the city. Look around you'll see them on Detroit. One is in front of Rozi's. Look up on the pole and you'll see it move. Kinda creepy
Guy Incognito July 11, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Pat is absolutely correct. Follow the money and you can see what is going on here. This is being paid for with federal funds. Does anyone really believe that these cameras are low quality and purely for traffic monitoring? Give me a break. I would bet the contents of my bank account that there is software on the server-side of these HIGH END cameras that keeps track of license plates traveling through the intersection. Oh, you didn't know that technology existed? Yep... http://www.allgov.com/ViewNews/License_Plate_Tracking_Spreads_beyond_Criminal_Suspects_120508 http://reason.com/blog/2012/05/22/dea-wants-to-track-your-license-plate-an http://privacysos.org/node/628 We have lost the country a long time ago, and now we are losing our local communities. When will someone speak up and end this insanity?
Guy Incognito July 11, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I can't believe that people are still parroting the same line of "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about" after everything we've seen over the last several years. Abuses of power by government and law enforcement are at an all time high in this country. Giving up your privacy and freedom just so you don't have to be bothered to look around and actually get a little upset is not the answer.

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