A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Looking up at signals, and here’s why

Written December 1st, 2022 by Hasso Hering

Instructions for when to cross the street, posted at a new signal post at Pacific Boulevard and Albany Avenue (shown on Nov. 30).

There was a reason I parked at Waverly Park and started walking around, craning my neck and pointing my phone at the new signal installations on Pacific Boulevard, at Albany Avenue on one side and Airport Road on the other.

The reason? I was looking for cameras, somewhere up there among the new signal arms, wiring and the still-to-be-activated lights.

And why was I trying to find cameras? Because a reader thought there were some there.

Sensitive about traffic cameras after getting a ticket from a red-light camera at Queen Avenue and Geary, this reader wondered whether new red-light cameras had been added to the signals ODOT installed at two intersections: Pacific and Airport, and Santiam and Waverly.

The reader thought she had seen new cameras at those places.

Actually, no new red-light cameras have been authorized in Albany, either by ODOT or the city council.  But I went to check anyway. And I didn’t see anything that looked at all like the two sets of red-light cameras that have been operating for years at Geary and Queen.

An inquiry with ODOT, though, produced a surprise: Apparently there are cameras there after all.

“They are pedestrian detection cameras,” the department’s Angela Beers-Seydel told me. “I’ve asked how they work – and hope to hear soon.”

So, another trip out on Pacific. I still couldn’t see anything that looked like an obvious camera, except for one little black blob on a signal arm with a wire coming out of it.

That little black blob seems to look where I, a pedestrian, would stand if I planned to cross Albany Avenue.

Long story short: I’ll wait for more information from ODOT, including perhaps a likely date when the replacement signals, still covered by yellow shrouds, will be turned on. And when the rest of the intersection work will be complete.

In the meantime there’s one thing we can be sure of: At these two intersections, on Pacific and Santiam, red-light cameras are not among the things we’ll have to worry about. (hh)

6 responses to “Looking up at signals, and here’s why”

  1. Hartman says:

    The most concerning aspect of this story is that now we know that Albany’s highways and byways are cluttered with a driver who is, “Sensitive about traffic cameras after getting a ticket from a red-light camera at Queen Avenue and Geary.”

    In short, the person whose neuroses underpinned this screed is careening about, craning his/her neck upwards, straining to see thru the glare of his/her windshield whether or not a camera stands ready to capture his/her indiscretions. Would it not be wiser for this person to pay actual attention to traffic. I know Hasso loves to dwell on stories that portend Big Brother Is Watching theory. Perhaps Hasso should wonder more about why some think it best to run red lights … and then are angered over the fact that they were caught on camera. We do not need to fetishize or glamorize traffic scofflaws and feed their paranoia.

    • Abe Cee says:

      Alternatively, don’t put cameras up and then no one will need to worry about looking for them. Does Big Brother really need to watch everything we do?

      Build in a second or two delay where all directions are red before turning green for the lanes that are having their turn and you would likely eliminate or at least greatly reduce any chance of collision.

    • M. Richner says:

      As a driver who several years ago received a ticket at the Queen and Geary intersection via the cameras, I can say that they are far from perfect. My case was dismissed after I wrote a letter to the court pointing out why this was so.

  2. MarK says:

    Even though I’ve seen them working that intersection recently, I haven’t seen and electrical cabinets. Weren’t those the reason for such a long delay?

  3. Scott Bruslind says:

    Angela Beers-Seydel is a great ODOT resource, and she thinks kindly of Mr. Hering. I asked her, so I know.

  4. Fred Dinwiddie says:

    I wonder why they feel the need to display a bunch of instructions for crossing the street. Are people stupider or are the authorities stupider? They seem to think we need all those instructions. Is it because most people are incredibly stupid? This is like telling people the phone number is one eight hundred and so on. If you don’t know that already, you shouldn’t be using a phone.


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