- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 28, 2009

Your article, “Wider use of traffic cameras to help close budget gap” (Page 1, Wednesday), reminded me of a ticket I received about 12 years ago in New York City at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Douglaston Parkway in Queens. This is a wide crossing, and I was going the speed limit, which was 30 mph. Roughly a yard into the crossing, I saw the light turn yellow, and in three seconds it went red. I appealed.

The three judges who heard my case were noncommittal. I told them that the arithmetic showed that, in feet per second, it was impossible to cross the intersection without being in the camera range with the light still yellow. It turned red too soon. The city’s evidence was the photograph. I was caught being in the intersection going through a red light. Verdict: Guilty!

I then tried to find out, under the Right-to-Know Law, how much the city had received in fines at that particular intersection. I received no answer. We both knew that a $50 fine was less than the cost of litigation. Lesson: You can’t fight city hall and expect to win.


Ellicott City, Md.

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