Thursday, March 19, 2009

Traffic Cameras--Good or Bad?

Redding Traffic Cameras

Posted March 20, 2009 at 00:27 AM


Grand jury:says....

Redding should add more red lightcameras...

.a good reason to live in Redding, CA

Redding's traffic cameras

• Cypress Avenue and Churn Creek Road

• Cypress Avenue and Bechelli Lane

• Lake Boulevard and Market Street

• Pine and Tehama streets

• Shasta and Market street

In spite of national reports casting doubt about the effectiveness of red-light cameras, the Shasta County Grand Jury recommends that the city of Redding add them to intersections “at every opportunity.”

In its latest report released today, the grand jury touted the use of the cameras as a “phenomenal law enforcement tool” that reduced collisions by 48 percent in the first half of 2008 at the intersections at which they were installed.

Wrecks citywide were down by 21 percent over the same period, the jurors wrote.

“Redding Police Department traffic experts postulate that a primary cause of the dramatic improvements of traffic safety is the presence of red light cameras,” the jurors wrote.

In spite of concerns to the contrary, there’s also been no evidence the cameras increased rear-end collisions at camera-equipped intersections, the jurors wrote.

But the jurors also noted that the cameras didn’t seem to reduce collisions citywide during 2007, the camera’s first year of operation.

The jury also found that costs to taxpayers are negligible, but the cameras so far have generated no revenue for the city.

Taxpayers pay less than $30,000 each year to pay for part-time officers who review the cameras’ videos and photos, shot when a motorist triggers the camera’s in-ground motion sensors.

The $325 fine generated each time a motorist is caught running a light pays for the rest of the program.

In 2007 and 2008, all of the $116,000 the city collected in fines went to Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Redflex Traffic Systems, the company that operates and installs the cameras, the jury found.

Under the city’s contract with Redflex, the company will pay Redflex up to $200,516 in fees before the city can collect any cash.

In recent months, the cameras have drawn national attention as studies have cast doubt on the cameras’ effectiveness while the companies that operate them rake in cash.

Although national studies show fewer T-bone crashes at lights with cameras and fewer drivers running red lights, the number of rear-end crashes increased.

Meanwhile, companies like Redflex expect increased revenue for years to come, while cities around the nation install them them to bolster their revenue streams.

Redflex alone saw after-tax profits of $10.6 million in fiscal year 2008, up from $7.3 million the year before.

Aaron Quinn, spokesman for the Wisconsin-based National Motorists Association, said that there are cheaper safety alternatives to red-light cameras, including lengthening yellow-light times.

“We say, the red-light camera wouldn’t have stopped anyone from getting hit,” Quinn told The Associated Press. “Once (a city) sees one city getting it miles away, and that first city makes a bunch of money, they want to do it, too. It’s like a virus.”

Reporter Ryan Sabalow can be reached at 225-8344 or Redding Record Searchlight


wiaka said...

Traffic cameras can be effective; but when the llights turn quickly it is unfair to the motorist.
I have started through a light when it turns green and before I get across the line it is turning again and I am the first one in line. That is wrong and unsafe.

City of Redding needs to fix these to leave plenty og time.

grandwazoo said...

i think Traffic cameras are a good thing. however i also think that the city is abusing them a little. i recently made a rolling right hand turn from market to lake blvd.i didn't stop completely because i used common sense the signal was letting everyone from lake blvd turn left effectively blocking any traffic from coming at me and the crosswalk was empty. so i did not come to a complete stop the pictures said i was going 13 miles an hour. anyway the fine seems excessive it was almost 400 dollars. and all other right hand turn lanes at that intersection are merge type and i think its a little deceiving.

grandwazoo said...
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