Maybe

A new place to eat will soon open on Washington Avenue.  It is advertised as two places at one address.  One is called Terra and the other is NuWave Cafe.  They’ll serve international pescatarian food.  Some vegan.  Some raw.  Some kosher.  The menu is huge, the drinks oddly corporate (beer from Shmaltz is a notable exception) and they are still advertising for a vegan chef despite projecting an October 19 opening.  I am a beggar here.  You bet I’ll give it a shot.  Enthusiastically. Have intel?  Please share.

Then there’s Urban Velo.  So many things when I checked it today.  The NiteRider Sentinal is curious.  Lasers have been added to a rear blinky to project a virtual bike lane on the ground.  Click on the picture to make it bigger to better see it in operation.  I wonder if the lane gets wider if your bike is taller?  Orange County’s Give Three Feet PSA is worth a watch.  Amusing and much better than nothing.  Following a review of the Swobo Scofflaw bicycle with the story of the bicyclist who hit a pedestrian in NYC’s Central Park is unfortunate.  I’m not suggesting the bicyclist was a scofflaw, but it seems probable under the circumstances that he was exceeding the speed limit (which we all remember is the lesser of the posted speed limit (25 mph in the park) and the speed which is safe under the conditions).  No charges have been filed, but a civil suit is surely in the works.  Terribly sad for all involved.

As I interview friends about their position on red light cameras, I continue to be surprised by the number of folks who are against them and their grounds for  opposition.  Privacy.  Waving the flag of privacy as you run a red light is whack.  A warrant is required to search a trunk or a glove box, but an officer can look into your car through the windows.  Same with your home–officers can look through your windows without a warrant because no expectation of privacy exists for activities visible through a window.  A wall is another matter.  Check out this article on using infrared cameras to look through walls.  Interesting stuff, but all of it is a long way from invalidating red light cameras.  Regressive Tax.  Bad when the thing being taxed is essential, but breaking the law is not only not essential, it is illegal.  It’s just about the money.  The Mayor is projecting $2M in next years budget from red light citations, so I can’t argue the money has gone unnoticed, but why do revenues preclude a goal of increasing safety?  Legislation can and generally does have more than one aim.  Robots (and private vendors) shouldn’t be trusted in this context.  I was told police department employees will review the videos of potential violations and decide who should be fined.  The cameras are there, but so are the public servants.  A better result than computer operated signals at intersections.   Should we pay for officers with whistles at every major intersection?  Might be better, but good luck paying for it.  Cameras don’t increase safety.  Numbers.  They stand at the ready for both sides of any argument.  Yes some people will still run red lights, but surely some won’t.  I’d count a single life saved as a win.  Problem is, we can’t interview the family of the person who didn’t get hit by the driver who used to run red lights but stopped doing so after receiving a red light ticket.  Because no one knows why their spouse made it home from work.  They just did.  It was taken for granted but it was still awesome.

Be careful out there.

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4 responses to “Maybe

  1. Randal,
    I follow your blog on an intermittent basis, don’t always agree but always enjoy. On this topic however….
    Personally I’d advocate for a single uniform traffic law that holds that in any collision, the larger/heavier collidant is automatically deemed at fault, criminally.
    No other traffic laws would be required, and soon enough drivers would be exceedingly polite to cyclists and pedestrians, and nobody would take changes at traffic lights.
    Now to the topic of red light cameras….equating the car (which is what the camera captures) with personal guilt is not necessarily a truth. I imagine laws are intended to regulate the behavior of individuals, so how does a camera that captures the action of a machine assign blame to an individual? Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that red-(or even yellow-) light runners should face stiff fines and license suspensions. But guilt is personal, not machine-derived. Cameras are a bad idea unless you employ face-recognition technology (that’s possible) but if we can’t do it at airports to avoid the security theatre lines, then I can’t/won’t believe that The Man could possibly have the right to use such technology for this purpose.

    • Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts. I have no objection to face recognition cameras at red lights but I’ll accept liability by vehicle. Most vehicles are shared amongst a limited number of users and when they get a ticket they can have a conversation about it. Not perfect but it looks like what we are going to get and I consider it a win for now.

      The APD has recently parked an RV marked Communications Unit at our local park. Pretty sure it was unoccupied but drivers went from ignoring the stop signs to stopping without exception. I hope the red light cameras will have the same effect.

      Take care.

      • I try to avoid driving to the extent possible so in my daily life it’s not a critical point. But one day each week I have to drive into downtown Hartford (ancient Greek word for “death ride for cyclists”) where running red lights is a sport for the locals….so I’ve considered this problem. I understand your point, but we will disagree on this.
        Meanwhile another question spurred by recent news and my recollection that you and L have ANTs in your stable…, I’ll ask elsewhere…

      • Seems like a respectful disagreement. I’ll take it! So many exchanges on the net are so much less so. Might have something to do with the fact that we’re operating under our real names. Anonymity is poison.

        I have two ANTs and Lacey has one. If we had no others I’d feel like a reasonable person but…

        Thanks again for writing. Be well!

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