Speed cameras in your living room?

In the city’s rush to install speed cameras at high-traffic spots around the neighborhood, they clearly forgot to consider one thing: what happens when those flashing lights shine right into apartment windows? That’s what’s going on now at buildings along West Street, and it’s making neighbors nuts.

“We don’t even want to sit in our living room anymore,” said one resident of 200 Chambers. “It causes headaches and it goes on all day and all night if a car is going above 30.”

One camera — and the bright flash that goes with it — is installed in the median between Warren and Murray and flashes constantly, though for barely a second each time. (I walked down to watch and from the ground on Warren, it is blinding but quick — it’s hard to tell where it’s coming from.) The other is on the northwest corner of Chambers and West Street.

Neighbors as high up as the sixth floor on both sides of the highway say it is driving them to distraction, and even waking them up at night. The little kids ask if it’s lightening; the big kids say it makes it hard to stay focused on homework.

“It’s like a strobe light and it kind of lights up your apartment,” said another resident of 200 Chambers. “When it first went off, I thought, ‘that can’t be.’ Then everyone noticed — my kids, my girlfriend, friends who came over. It is so bright — I don’t want to overstate it, but it is super annoying.”

The city started adding cameras in 750 school zones last July as part of its Vision Zero campaign. They are not listing the locations, but we know we have another on Greenwich as well. The system takes photographs of only those vehicles that exceed the speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour Monday through Friday between the hours of 6a and 10p.

For nearly three months, everyone affected has been registering complaints with 311, writing DOT and local electeds, but there was no action, or even a response, until this week. One resident at 300 North End Ave. received a letter from DOT on Sept. 30 saying the problem was “fixed” with metal blinders. Residents on both sides of the highway watched last night and said that whatever they did, it made absolutely no difference.

The whole thing has gone on long enough, they said. One resident would like to put her apartment on the market, but realizes this issue must be resolved first.

“I get that the city has to address speeding, but not at the expense of residents,” said one Chambers Street resident. “After numerous requests, they have done nothing.”