NYC police to record every visitor's license plate

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

From the Huffington Post comes word that New York City intends to deploy license plate cameras at all entrances to and exits from Manhattan.

The ring of steel is expanding. New York City Police Department Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced a “major project” at a budget hearing on Tuesday to install license plate reader cameras “in every lane of traffic on all of the bridges and tunnels that serve as entrances and exits to Manhattan.”

Soon, no one will be able to drive onto or off of the island without potentially being recorded.

Currently, Kelly said, the NYPD has “complete” coverage on the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges and the Battery and Holland Tunnels. License plate readers will be commissioned for additional bridges by this summer. The devices can quickly scan license plate numbers and submit the time and place they were captured to a database.
Kelly also said the department has mounted a high-resolution camera on an NYPD helicopter and given it “sophisticated down-link technology to provide real-time, high-quality video of incidents as they unfold.” The commissioner has expressed interest in flying unmanned drones to watch over demonstrations as well.

The full story is here.



Across the nation in Los Angeles, more cameras, but not to spy on people. The city has become the first in the world to connect all of its traffic signals to a central automated control center. From The California Report and KQED public TV:

Last month, the city of Los Angeles achieved a major milestone: every one of its nearly 4,400 signalized intersections is now monitored and synchronized for more efficient traffic flow. L.A. is the first city in the world to do so, and the Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control System (ATSAC), which coordinates the effort, runs from inside a former bomb shelter four stories under City Hall East.

ATSAC’s headquarters is a calm, quiet nerve center where a team of traffic engineers monitors more than a dozen screens showing live video feeds and animated graphics for every signalized intersection in the city. Engineer Edward Yu, who oversees ATSAC, says gathering traffic data from the roads requires three things, the first of which lies beneath the pavement.

“Loop detectors are the magnetic induction loops embedded in the ground. They’re really the eyes that we use to see the traffic,” Yu says. “As cars drive over them, they give us data about the speed, volume, and how long the cars have been sitting there.”

The second component is cameras. Engineer Eric Zambon says there are more than 400 of them across the city - cameras that have pan, tilt and zoom capabilities mounted on 20 to 30-foot poles.

Go here for the rest of the story.

IBM’s Smarter Cities report on Pittsburgh said a similar system would be ideal here but possibly not affordable. Instead it recommended a “distributed” control center that relies on drivers to use information supplied by the city to plan their travel efficiently.


PennDOT and police in South Fayette and Cecil this morning announced a six-week crackdown on aggressive driving. Police will target those who run red lights, drive too fast and tailgate. They planned stepped-up enforcement on Route 50 following the announcement. More than 350 departments are taking part in the statewide campaign, which continues through April 28.



roadworkaheadPennDOT will close the outbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel this weekend as a $49.5 million rehabilitation project enters its second season. The tunnel will close at 11 p.m. Friday and reopen by 6 a.m. Monday. Crews will begin removing the false ceiling as was done in the inbound tunnel last year. Outbound traffic will be required to exit at Squirrel Hill. There are two posted detours. From 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., the route follows Forward Avenue, Beechwood Boulevard, Forbes Avenue and South Braddock Avenue. The overnight detour uses Murray Avenue rather than Beechwood Boulevard. The tentative construction schedule also calls for weekend closures April 5-8, April 19-22 and April 26-29.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike will be closed in both directions between Butler Valley (Exit 39) and Allegheny Valley (Exit 48) from 11:59 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. Sunday to allow for demolition of the bridge carrying Middle Road over the turnpike. It was closed March 11 for replacement. The detour uses Routes 8 and 28.

Lane closures are possible on Interstate 70 near the Bentleyville interchange after 9 p.m. and before 5 a.m. daily through mid-July. Daytime restrictions are possible on Route 917, Bentleyville Road and Wilson Road. The restrictions are needed to allow test drilling for the planned reconstruction of the interchange.

Lane closures are possible on Leechburg Road between Saltsburg and Milltown roads in Penn Hills from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays starting Wednesday and continuing through April 10 as crews make drainage improvements.

Inspection of the Thornburg Bridge may cause lane closures from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday.

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