In what would be a first for Albany, the city police chief wants speed enforcement cameras to be installed at four intersections.
A year ago, the city council authorized the no-bid purchase of a $61,000 speed radar trailer that could record license plates so that drivers could be sent warnings.
Now Police Chief Marcia Harnden wants to take the next step — to actual photo enforcement that would result in tickets and fines for drivers caught speeding.
On Wednesday, Dec. 13, the chief will ask the council for the authority to procure the equipment, without bidding, from the company that has operated two red-light cameras at Queen Avenue and Geary Street since 2007. The company, of Mesa, Ariz., used to be called RedFlex. Now it goes by American Traffic Solutions and does business as Verra Mobility.
The proposal is to add red light cameras to the two approaches at Queen and Geary that don’t already have them, and to add photo speed enforcement at that intersection.
In addition, the police would like photo speed enforcement and red light cameras at three locations: On North Albany Road at Thornton Lake Drive, at Queen Avenue and Elm Street, and at Santiam Road and Geary Street.
On North Albany Road, the speed limit is 40 mph. During school hours, the limit is 20 and in my experience the average speed there (with no kids in sight) is between 22 and 27 mph. It’s not clear why photo enforcement is necessary.
Harnden’s memo to the council doesn’t say why she wants the additional camera systems. But she says the city staff anticipates that “annual revenue” from the added cameras would offset the expense of the equipment and “personnel changes/additions.”
The cost, her memo says, would be “$3,000 per camera system per month, plus $20 per paid citation.”
Assuming the expanded Queen/Geary setup would count as one system, that would make four systems in all with a total annual cost of at least $144,000.
If the chief anticipates ticket revenue to offset the cost, that implies the added technology won’t stop speeders but will just make them pay. (hh)