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Traffic cameras will go public

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Cameras have long been used by Richmond County traffic engineers to monitor traffic patterns.

The majority of Richmond County's traffic cameras are in the area of River Watch Parkway and Washington Road. Two are on Interstate 20.   File/Staff
File/Staff
The majority of Richmond County's traffic cameras are in the area of River Watch Parkway and Washington Road. Two are on Interstate 20.

In the last month of 2010, the sheriff's office tapped into those cameras to aid their investigations.

By next month, the public might also be able use the cameras for their own benefit.

Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell said the project is in the beta-testing stages now.

"We use them a lot Masters Week but it's just a waste to use them one week a year," Cassell said of the decision to put traffic feeds online.

The majority of the 13 cameras are in the River Watch Parkway and Washington Road area. Two are on Interstate 20.

The traffic engineering department is seeking to expand the number of cameras. A date has not been set yet.

Cassell said the department has talked about having a mapping application on its Web site where a user can click on each camera and watch a live feed from that area.

He said he hopes this will help drivers plan their routes according to traffic levels at the time they hit the road -- especially for locals trying to navigate during the Masters.

"If you're getting ready to leave, you can look and see what Washington Road looks like," he said. "Maybe then you'll want to go River Watch Parkway or vice-versa."

Traffic engineers had originally targeted a February debut. However, engineers are now looking at March 1, but warned more delays are possible.

Cassell said the goal is to have everything ready to go for the Masters Tournament.

Comments (30) Add comment
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ZenoElia
1
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ZenoElia 02/26/11 - 07:36 am
0
0
Big Brother IS watching....

Big Brother IS watching....

Runner46
0
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Runner46 02/26/11 - 07:49 am
0
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Next, the red-light-runners

Next, the red-light-runners will be receiving traffic citations in the mail. It has happened before, and it will happen again!

jamesnewsome
38
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jamesnewsome 02/26/11 - 08:51 am
0
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"Big Brother IS watching...."

"Big Brother IS watching...." I assume this was a negative comment. When "Big Brother" invades our private property and homes with cameras he has crossed the line. Washington RD, I-20, and Riverwatch are public areas and should be watched by DOT and the sheriff's department.

Riverman1
83523
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Riverman1 02/26/11 - 09:11 am
0
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"In the last month of 2010,

"In the last month of 2010, the sheriff's office tapped into those cameras to aid their investigations."

These cameras are an invasion of privacy issue. As technology allows more and more observations, where do we draw the line? From past articles it was learned the cameras can capture the drivers and passengers in a vehicle. We've all read the "humorous" stories of how the driver was caught on camera eating a plate of spaghetti or something while driving.

It's perfectly acceptable to catch the license numbers of cars running stoplights, but peering into the car is an invasion of privacy. If it is not outlawed here, where do we stop? In the future will every single person be monitored every single move he makes in public? It's time to focus the cameras on tags and not people.

corgimom
32175
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corgimom 02/26/11 - 10:57 am
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When you are out in public,

When you are out in public, driving down a public road, in a car with windows, you should not expect privacy. Who would?

If privacy is that important to you, then stay home with your curtains drawn. Or stay off the streets that have cameras.

If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?

By the way, don't come to Charlotte, either, there are cameras on the Interstates and main roads. And they show the pictures every day on the news. And you know what it shows? Cars driving down the road.

Sheesh.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 02/26/11 - 11:16 am
0
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"... are public areas and

"... are public areas and should be watched by DOT and the sheriff's department." I have no problem with DOT and law enforcement watching these cameras but according to the article "Cassell said the department has talked about having a mapping application on its Web site where a user can click on each camera and watch a live feed from that area." The idea that you can view heavy traffic areas to plan your route sounds nice but this makes me very uneasy to know that anybody can view me in my vehicle and also be able to record my vehicle tag number through one of these cameras. Doesn't this seem like a potential problem?

Suzy Q
1
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Suzy Q 02/26/11 - 11:21 am
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If Big Brother is watching,

If Big Brother is watching, and catches people causing accidents for insurance scams, someone being held up on a street corner or those people who are convinced that red lights don't actually apply to them, I'm all for it. The only people who are worried about being seen on camera in public are those who have something to hide.

As for the cameras capturing photos of the drivers and passengers, the traffic cameras I've seen face both directions at traffic lights. When you run the light one camera snaps a pic of your tag, the other of your face. Makes it harder to claim that your cousin/brother/friend was driving the car when the light was red. They have them installed in the Knoxville area with BIG signs letting you know that the cameras are there.

When they start installing cameras that swivel, zoom and point at your house, then you can worry. What I'm reading about here are fixed cameras pointed at public areas. If you're that worried, stay out of public areas.

ADAMS
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ADAMS 02/26/11 - 11:30 am
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Steve cassell you need to get

Steve cassell you need to get off your cozy butt and drive around Augusta and mend all these delayed traffic lights.

Riverman1
83523
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Riverman1 02/26/11 - 11:36 am
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Yada, yada, yada if you don't

Yada, yada, yada if you don't want what you say taped you shouldn't say it either. Being in public does not mean you give up your right to privacy. The US Supreme Court has ruled that Hare Krishnas can't invade your private space that surrounds you even in public places and scream at you. The SC said everyone is entitled to an area of private space around them. Frankly, if I'm scratching my privates in my car I don't want it on video later. If you don't mind being caught on video in private situations, have at it. Honestly, as the technology improves will every single moment outside of your propery be monitored on public video?

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 02/26/11 - 11:49 am
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I pick my nose way too much

I pick my nose way too much for this to be a good idea...

Riverman1
83523
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Riverman1 02/26/11 - 11:53 am
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Taylor, well, that's not so

Taylor, well, that's not so bad unless you are......eeewwww, won't even go there.

dani
12
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dani 02/26/11 - 12:33 pm
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Cameras sounds like a good

Cameras sounds like a good idea to me.

Bush was disliked because of the Patriot Act, yet Obama has just extended it.
"The times they are a changing" and it is only right to be suspicious of big brother...But this can only help. IMHO

WW1949
19
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WW1949 02/26/11 - 12:54 pm
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Darken your windows just a

Darken your windows just a little more and get a shield over the tag that can only be seen when in a horizontal position. Maybe no picture then.

Just My Opinion
5582
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Just My Opinion 02/26/11 - 01:00 pm
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I don't care if they can see

I don't care if they can see me in my car. If they're looking for bad-guys, then that suits me just fine. And someone else earlier said that he'd be worried if the cameras could swivel around and watch my house...don't care about that either. In fact, that'd be cool because they could see if someone was trying to break in! All this reminds me of the TV show "24"...they would get a lead on a bad-guy and could follow his car and figure out where he was going just be tapping into the traffic cameras.

linux
96
Points
linux 02/26/11 - 02:18 pm
0
0
"Next, the red-light-runners

"Next, the red-light-runners will be receiving traffic citations in the mail. It has happened before, and it will happen again!"

Well, I currently live in Seattle, but will be moving to Evans in three days. Like most free-spending liberal cities, Seattle will do whatever it takes to feed the socialist machine, and several years ago red light camera's became a reality here, and they're spreading to neighboring cities.

You can say what you want about privacy or safety, but there are here for money and are proliferating like Starbucks stores. In the name of safety, they will likely be at every intersection with a light before long

I hope Augusta can resist that temptaion

Whim
4
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Whim 02/26/11 - 04:32 pm
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InChristLove, "...makes me

InChristLove, "...makes me very uneasy to know that anybody can view me in my vehicle and also be able to record my vehicle tag number through one of these cameras."

Respectfully, your point makes no sense. You are just as vulnerable to anyone who can stand at a street corner or drive down the road in traffic and do the exact same thing.

david jennings
590
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david jennings 02/26/11 - 03:26 pm
0
0
Whats the big deal,your on

Whats the big deal,your on cam at the bank,in walmart,parking lots lots of places.Just like speeding tickets,dont speed ,no tickets.Dont run red lights no problem.Slow down the life you save maybe your own.

Clux99
0
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Clux99 02/26/11 - 03:28 pm
0
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"These cameras are an

"These cameras are an invasion of privacy issue."

How exactly is it an invasion of privacy? The cameras will see the same thing that anyone driving down the road or walking down the sidewalk would see. When they start wanting to point cameras into your backyard, then start worrying. These cameras 'invading your privacy' is a non-issue.

david jennings
590
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david jennings 02/26/11 - 04:16 pm
0
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Thanks 99,I mean when you

Thanks 99,I mean when you leave home and go shopping whatever, you are out in public.If you want privacy,stay home.

corgimom
32175
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corgimom 02/26/11 - 05:14 pm
0
0
Well, Riverman, if a camera

Well, Riverman, if a camera can see you scratching your privates, then so can other drivers. Because your car has windows in it.

You don't want it on video, but you don't mind other people seeing it?

How does that expectation of privacy work again?

Who expects "privacy" in a car that everyone can see into?

OhWell
326
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OhWell 02/26/11 - 05:17 pm
0
0
I guess no one wanting their

I guess no one wanting their privacy invaded has ever flown on an airplane. You are on camera from the time you get your ticket to boarding. Then a camera picks you back up on the flight.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 02/26/11 - 05:58 pm
0
0
Soooo... where are the

Soooo... where are the conservatives complaing about the cost of this?

corgimom
32175
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corgimom 02/26/11 - 06:01 pm
0
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Please, God, LET the

Please, God, LET the red-light runners receive tickets.

Because I'm sick and tired of being afraid to enter intersections on a green light because I think some fool won't stop at a red light. I'm tired of having my safety, and my family's safety, endangered by those irresponsible drivers.

If you don't want a ticket in the mail, don't run a red light.

Riverman1
83523
Points
Riverman1 02/26/11 - 06:21 pm
0
0
Again, it's the principle of

Again, it's the principle of the whole thing. I don't want government following me around every minute I'm out in public which this system of cameras at stoplights can apparently do. I don't want national ID cards that can be used to track me either. I don't want my phone conversations tapped or people going in my house without my permission unless they are law enforcement with a warrant issued by a judge. I don't want laws that can prevent me from ordering fried catfish in a restaurant. Maybe it's just me.

Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 02/26/11 - 06:25 pm
0
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Riverman1, you have no "right

Riverman1, you have no "right to privacy" anywhere these cameras are placed. If you can sit a cop there to watch or if a normal citizen can sit there and watch then what excatly is the difference in a camera being there?

Private businesses and even homes now have camera systems so why shouldn't the government use technology in a positive way. There isn't anything here that is a secret, heck they are even allowing the general public to observe the cameras.

The bottom line is that if a person may legally sit and observe and area in public then it is legal for a camera to cover for that person. Likewise, if a person (cop or otherwise) couldn't legally be there to observe your actions, etc. then neither can a camera unless of course a warrant was issued.

Riverman1
83523
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Riverman1 02/26/11 - 07:09 pm
0
0
Asitis, I don't buy that. The

Asitis, I don't buy that. The US Supreme Court recognizes individuals have a space around them that is private, ie, the Hare Krishna case. So if we have this private space that someone can't invade is it right for government to do just that with cameras?

Now if we are observing a crook with cameras and a judge has okayed it, I'm all for it, but to simply video the entire population and map where every individual passing goes from light to light crosses the line.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 02/27/11 - 03:33 pm
0
0
It doesn't matter whether you

It doesn't matter whether you or I buy it - just matters if it is legal.

It isn't an invasion of your privacy for the Hare Krishna to watch you in a legal space from a distance and observe your actions, etc. that anyone with eyes in public can do. It is however, illegal for them to harass you and PHYSICALLY invade your private space. If it is legally OBSERVED by a human with eyes in a public area then it is legal for a camera to observe it as well. What I don't know and would have to research as you bring up some good points is would it be legal for a camera with extra zoom, etc. that sees far beyond what a normal individual could see. Based on what I have read on legal opinions regarding video camera use, that would potentially be going to far.

That being said, I do totally agree with you in the fact of recordings being made of your actions, etc. that could then become public and even recorded, etc. to show you were picking your nose in public, or even out on a date with someone, etc. - it is a fine line of balance.

dani
12
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dani 02/26/11 - 09:04 pm
0
0
Just let me know the

Just let me know the locations of the cameras....

Riverman1
83523
Points
Riverman1 02/26/11 - 10:01 pm
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Asitis, I agree with you,

Asitis, I agree with you, too, that it's the law and there's not much I can do about it, but point out inconsistencies. The real problem for me is that things like this are governmental policies and there has to be a limit. It's a policy issue. Where do we stop?

Too bad we couldn't have follwed Mark Sanford around with a camera. That would have been fun.

usapatriot
0
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usapatriot 02/26/11 - 10:24 pm
0
0
I see this issue has a few of

I see this issue has a few of you agreeing with the cameras in principle. That's exactly the point of the aiuthorities.

Folks, this is a foot in the door. A wedge in the crack. Many of you are abetting this with your "what have you got to hide" line. That's exactly what govt counts on. That's exactly what camera companies tell local govts.

This is the beginning. Everything people in power do is a baby step to achieve bigger and grander things. They know they can't do it all at once. But, as some of you prove, they can achieve their larger goal a little bit at a time with your acquiescence.

This is the kind of thing that is easier to stop sooner than later, for it will only continue to grow. Little by little, our privacy is being eroded. Many of you go right along with it.

You will wake up one day with no one to blame but yourselves.

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