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Rochester announced Monday that it will halt, review and potentially cancel hundreds of red light violations at a pair of westside intersections where the yellow light phase was found to be running a full second too fast.
Does one second make a difference?
At Mt. Read Boulevard and Emerson Street, southbound drivers with a 3-second yellow light recorded 1,600 more tickets than northbound drivers who had a full 4 seconds to clear the intersection. That was just during the first full six months that red light cameras were in place.
Each ticket carries a $50 fine.
"I think they owe people a lot of money," said Jeff Hewitt, 44, of Charlotte, whose protest of his wife's red-light ticket led state officials to discover the problem.
Yellow light timing is a contentious issue, one that led to refunds in New Jersey and Tennessee, and is at the heart of a class-action lawsuit in New York City seeking refunds, an audit and suspension of the Big Apple's red light cameras over allegations that yellow lights there run a half-second fast. City Councils in Washington, D.C., and St. Petersburg, Fla., currently are studying whether their yellow lights are cycling too quickly.
Here in Rochester, the state found and fixed yellow lights cycling at three rather than four-second intervals on Mt. Read southbound both at Emerson and Driving Park Avenue, which was the target of Hewitt's objection. The yellow light timing also was off northbound at Lexington Avenue, which is not monitored by red light cameras.