Albany’s Aim to ‘Finger’ Scofflaws Via Traffic Cameras Backfires
By Pug Ransom
Published August 16th, 2015
ALBANY — First-month results of Albany’s controversial automated red-light cameras are in and tabulations show while passing through the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Shaker Road some 691 motorists gave Common Council members and city police the finger.
“In a weird way, it’s kind of refreshing to see so many people take part in their government,” said Burgard Crupp, spokesman for Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “Sure, they’re essentially telling us to go fuck ourselves, but at least they’re not being apathetic.”
The city unveiled the new cameras last month as part of an effort to nail scofflaws blowing through the red lights at the intersections of some of Albany’s most heavily traveled thoroughfares. Twenty intersections in all across the city are expected to eventually be equipped with the cameras, officials said.
“This is Big Brother bullshit,” said Rocky Nugent, as he smoked a cigarette outside Stewarts across from Comedy Works. “The city is just looking for ways to boost revenue. You might not be able to fight City Hall, but you sure as shit can flip it off.”
Albany Police Chief Burl Ives said, “as long as residents stop when the light turns red and don’t come to rolling stops before making a right, they are free to express themselves. Still, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt our feelings every time a motorist tells us to fuck off.”
Crupp begrudgingly admitted that — based on the “fuck you” totals received at the Northern Boulveard-Shaker Road intersection in just the first month — the overall number of people giving the finger to city officials could very well top 275,000 per year when all 20 intersections are fully equipped, far exceeding the number of actual tickets written.
But when asked whether the city will reconsider use of the cameras given the public’s response, Crupp said: “Absolutely not. We remain steadfastly committed to the idea that when it comes to keeping our roads safe, the possible violation of our citizens’ civil rights is the right way to go.”