It was the weekend of July 29, 2016, and the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) was expecting a massive influx of cars into its tunnels, but a massive traffic jam kept them from deploying the cameras.
As traffic began to pick up, the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, had already signed an executive order that banned any city departments or agencies from spending money on the cameras until a plan was put in place to get them up and running.
The plan, which was still in the works at the time, would require a $200 million infusion from the state and the federal government, which could only be done by the end of this year.
The city’s own Department of Transportation had been tasked with overseeing the project, but in September, the NYCTA was tasked with running it, a task it was unable to complete.
As a result, the NYCCTA, which had been relying on state funds, was left with only $40 million to pay for the cameras and another $60 million to cover the cost of installing them in the tunnels.
And the cost wasn’t just astronomical, but it also left the agency’s board with little choice but to cancel the cameras altogether, a move that could cost the city millions in revenue.
The lack of state money for the project was one of the reasons why some in the city saw it as a failure.
It was a failure because the cameras were supposed to keep the city safe, said Michael Muehlhauser, the chief executive of the New Yorkers for Community Empowerment (NYCE).
The cameras would prevent vehicles from running into other cars on the streets and allow the city to keep track of the number of accidents that occurred, Muehlsh said.
In turn, this would help New Yorkers be more safe on the roads.
“The cameras are supposed to be a public safety device, but they’re really not,” he said.
“The reality is that they are not.”
While the cameras have been installed in the City Tunnel for almost two decades, the project has only become operational after a court order came down in October that required the city, the state, and private firms to begin paying for them.
It took months of negotiations with the city and its partners to get the order signed, and then more time to get all of the equipment up and going.
But that was all in the past, and as the city tries to rebuild its infrastructure, it has come to rely more on the state to provide money than it has for the installation of its own traffic cameras.
“This is not something that was anticipated,” said David Baskin, a transportation consultant who helped design the traffic cameras in New York.
“There’s been a massive amount of cost overruns in New Jersey, in Connecticut, in New Hampshire, in Pennsylvania.
In some cases, there are more than a dozen cities that have been trying to do this in a year.”
The NYCTa, which now owes $30 million for the cost, was forced to cut the amount it was going to spend on the project by nearly half, and in September it announced that it would cancel the project entirely.
The NYCT, which has the option to restart the project if it can find enough private money, says that it is now looking at other ways to raise money for other projects that it’s already started.
But, Baskins said, the current situation “looks pretty bleak.”
New York’s current system of traffic cameras is an attempt to address the citys high number of crashes, but that has not kept it safe for drivers.
It has also been a big headache for the state Department of Motor Vehicles, which oversees the project.
The department says that a study of the cameras shows that the cameras can only prevent 1.6 percent of collisions.
In addition, there have been problems with the equipment itself.
While the cameras do provide some safety, they don’t actually do much more than alert drivers when there are vehicles coming through the tunnels at the same time as traffic is moving.
And, the equipment has never been able to provide clear warnings about when the traffic is coming.
“We’ve had multiple accidents, and we’ve never gotten a clear signal that there’s an accident,” said Andrew Miller, a traffic safety researcher who helped build the cameras at the University of Virginia.
“That is a huge problem.
We have a system that is designed to detect, warn of, and take action in those situations, but we’re never getting clear information about what is happening.”
For many in the tunnel community, the cancellation of the project means that their hopes for a safer city have been dashed.
“It’s very, very disappointing, and it’s a real blow to us,” said Eric Rizzo, a member of the Tunnel Residents Alliance who lives in the Bronx.
“This is a very safe community and we want to see this system of cameras up and operating as soon as possible.”