HASSO HERING

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Council on traffic cameras: Keep going

Written April 27th, 2016 by Hasso Hering
Police Chief Mario Lattanzio, left, and Lt. Alan Lynn talk to the council about traffic cameras Wednesday.

Police Chief Mario Lattanzio, left, and Lt. Alan Lynn talk to the council about traffic cameras Wednesday.

Albany will continue its Redflex contract for red-light cameras, the city council decided in a 5-1 vote Wednesday. Councilor Dick Olsen voted no.

With little debate, the council accepted the recommendation of Police Chief Mario Lattanzio to renew, without calling for bids, the contract with Redflex Traffic Systems for seven years when it ends next February.

The existing camera system at Queen Avenue and Geary Street, the only one in Albany, works well and it doesn’t cost the city anything, so why change, the chief told me after the meeting. Mesa, the Arizona city where Lattanzio worked before taking the Albany job, had 34 traffic cameras from another vendor that had lots of problems, he said.

Lattanzio and Police Lt. Alan Lynn showed the council videos of red-light runners taken by the cameras at Queen and Geary. The cameras record red-light violations southbound on Geary and west-bound on Queen. In 2015, the police issued 509 citations based on camera evidence. In the fiscal year that ended last June, the city collected about $37,600 in fines. Redflex gets $60 for every ticket on which the city collects. The tickets run $260 each.

Most of the violations recorded by the Albany cameras are turning right on red without coming to a complete stop first.
Though it’s impossible to know whether this applies to Albany, sometimes red-light cameras result in an increase in rear-end crashes, but those tend to be less severe than T-bone crashes in the intersections.

Lattanzio would like to have cameras deter red-light runners at Santiam Highway and Waverly Drive as well. But that would require a study first because Santiam is a state highway. He said he’d come back to the council for any decision on getting Redflex to install additional cameras. (hh)



3 responses to “Council on traffic cameras: Keep going”

  1. HowlingCicada says:

    “””Most of the violations recorded by the Albany cameras are turning right on red without coming to a complete stop first.”””

    “””Lattanzio and Police Lt. Alan Lynn showed the council videos of red-light runners taken by the cameras at Queen and Geary.”””

    I’ll bet the videos all or mostly showed violations far worse than the commonplace incomplete stops. Please correct me if I’m wrong; otherwise, it’s bait and switch.

    On the other hand, at less than two per day, they couldn’t possibly have caught every “incomplete” stop, unless almost everyone is scared to death of the cameras and acts perfectly at just that one intersection.

    I’m undecided on the cameras – just need to be convinced that they deter really dangerous behavior and are not just enforcing picky legalisms.

    • The videos showed one actual crash caused by a red-light runner. I think the others showed two or three right turners, but it was pretty quick and I didn’t count. (hh)

  2. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Of note is that many of the photos are never even generating tickets because of the oversight given to them by the local PD. If it is not a definitive red-light infraction, they never move forward. The judge then also has the opportunity to view those that do get tickets and weigh in. However, it is interesting to me that (according to the testimony), there has not been a single instance where an appeal of the ticket before the judge has been overturned.

    Anyone who intentionally runs a red light is a serious danger to the public and they get off way too easily with just a $260 ticket! I cannot think of any valid “excuse” to run a red light…

 

 
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