Today’s news:

City opens state−of−the−art center in Long Island City to fix traffic

Long Island City’s Queens Plaza is the new home of a state−of−the−art traffic management facility that the city and state law enforcement officials unveiled at a ribbon−cutting ceremony last Thursday.

The new Joint Traffic Management Center brings together in one room staff from the state Department of Transportation, the city Department of Transportation and NYPD. They will now be able to observe the same camera feeds around the clock, share information and coordinate responses in order to clear traffic incidents in the five boroughs as quickly as possible, officials said.

The new facility includes three large video walls and 24 smaller monitors that can cycle through video feeds from nearly 500 closed−circuit television cameras monitoring traffic flow on major roadways throughout the city.

Police officers are also equipped with vehicle−mounted cameras and portable cameras with which they can photograph traffic conditions and collisions and send them back to the center in Queens Plaza. To use a portable camera, officers simply take a photo, plug in their cameras to a cord in their vehicles and hit a transmit button, said NYPD Lt. Joseph H. Wolff, Executive Officer of the Traffic Management Center, explaining that police are trained to also position their vehicles so that the dashboard cameras can adequately photograph the scene when possible.

“That’s really a big task that we bring to the center,” Wolff said.

Not all of the cameras are hooked into the center yet, but officials said that many are coordinated and the rest are in the works.

“By working closely together, we will be able to clear the incidents and restore the system measurably faster, saving time and money for all roadway users,” state DOT commissioner Astrid Glynn said in a statement.

Christina Santucci contributed to this story.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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