Starting next year, you may want to smile when driving across one of the city’s river bridges. You’ll be on camera.
The same holds true when near the harbor, the Veterans Memorial or the famous lighthouse, members of the New Haven Port Authority were told at the panel’s regular meeting Thursday night.
It all stems from a $1.1 million federal stimulus grant the city has received to strengthen security in and around the city’s port.
A total of 27 cameras will be mounted either on city poles, electric and telephone poles and buildings, or newly erected poles, Executive Director Judith Sheiffele told the Port Authority at its meeting last Thursday evening. (She’s pictured at left answering a question from authority member Katharine Goodbody.)
“We’re looking for existing poles so we don’t have to dig,” she said after the meeting. The problem is that even for digging a pole to hold a camera, the authority and city will have to submit environmental impact studies.
All that takes time. With that, and federal oversight over the project even before it goes out to bid, Sheiffele expects it will be at least a year before the cameras are up and running. She said the actual work is the quickest part of the process.
The cameras will be monitored at the New Haven police headquarters, the U.S. Coast Guard facility and the emergency operations center, she said.
The cameras will pan to observe as wide a swath as possible. Sheiffele said she did not know whether the cameras’ movements could be controlled from monitoring stations.
The spots under observation will include the Tomlinson Bridge, the Ferry Street, Chapel Street and Grand Avenue bridges, the Veterans Memorial along Long Wharf Drive, the Freedom Schooner Amistad dock, the Sound School on South Water Street and the lighthouse at Lighthouse Park.
Cameras also will be mounted along Waterfront Street, Connecticut Avenue, Fulton Street, Stiles Street and Wheeler Street.
Sheiffele also told the authority members that she has not given up on extending freight service to Waterfront Street. That project looked like a done deal until the state “shelved” it in August.
She said she received a letter, dated late September but received after the last authority meeting on Oct. 1, that officially told her that the project “cannot be funded at this time.” She said she still hopes for federal stimulus money can be used for the project.
“I haven’t given up hope,” she said after the meeting. “Maybe the feds will come through.”
By Leonard J. Honeyman