Did you play that game when you were a kid? We usually alternated between Red Light and Mother, May I? on autumn evenings which grew more quickly dark as each day passed. They were fun games to play during times, which I recall as, much more simple than today. No batteries or cords necessary.
These days, I run for fun. Unfortunately, negotiating my way around the streets of Albany isn’t always fun. I play a different game now – Green light, red light, one-two-three. Are you familiar with it? It’s where you watch the light cycle through from green to yellow to red and then count “1, 2, 3″ before approaching the intersection. If you fail to follow the rules, like the scofflaw driver blowing through the red light, you’re likely to get run over. Really.
There isn’t a single time I’ve been out getting some miles in, when I haven’t observed drivers running red lights. It is no joke. I can appreciate the frustration with Albany’s lights which sometimes seemed timed expressly for making me late for my destination. I get it. But, seriously? Is it really going to be worth running a person or animal over? Drivers in Albany really need to drink a big old mug of slow the f*ck down.
Red light cameras are controversial and considered by some to be invasive, but I truly believe their value in potentially protecting lives exceeds their threat to privacy. Folks are concerned that the company which will be monitoring the cameras will be aggressively doling out tickets because they are a for-profit entity. So? Don’t run red lights and it will cost you nothing.
Albany is a fine place to live. We have invested in schools and libraries and crosswalks. There are cool new places to shop and eat and our mayor is committed to the arts. Wouldn’t it be great if families felt comfortable moving into our city because they knew that public safety was a genuine priority? I’m all for quality of life tickets a la Giuliani, jaywalking, bike riding in the wrong direction on the streets, drivers failing to respect pedestrians in crosswalks and red light runners. Give them a warning then give them a ticket. If the ticket comes from a camera monitored traffic light, give them the picture, too. It’ll last longer, right?