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Red-light runners: Cameras up on El Camino at Glenwood

Original post made on Sep 4, 2008

Another camera system to catch red-light runners has been installed in Menlo Park -- this time at the intersection of El Camino Real and Glenwood Avenue.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 4, 2008, 4:46 PM

Comments (44)

Posted by City Hall Scammers, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 4, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Red Light Cameras Don't Work

Interesting: the solution to one problem causes another.

"The rigorous studies clearly show red-light cameras don't work," said lead author Barbara Langland-Orban, professor and chair of health policy and management at the USF College of Public Health. "Instead, they increase crashes and injuries as drivers attempt to abruptly stop at camera intersections."

Comprehensive studies from North Carolina, Virginia, and Ontario have all reported cameras are associated with increases in crashes. The study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council also found that cameras were linked to increased crash costs. The only studies that conclude cameras reduced crashes or injuries contained "major research design flaws," such as incomplete data or inadequate analyses, and were always conducted by researchers with links to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS, funded by automobile insurance companies, is the leading advocate for red-light cameras since insurance companies can profit from red-light cameras by way of higher premiums due to increased crashes and citations.

And, of course, the agenda of the government is to increase revenue due to fines:

A 2001 paper by the Office of the Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives reported that red-light cameras are "a hidden tax levied on motorists." The report came to the same conclusions that all of the other valid studies have, that red-light cameras are associated with increased crashes and that the timings at yellow lights are often set too short to increase tickets for red-light running. That's right, the state actually tampers with the yellow light settings to make them shorter, and more likely to turn red as you're driving through them.

In fact, six U.S. cities have been found guilty of shortening the yellow light cycles below what is allowed by law on intersections equipped with cameras meant to catch red-light runners. Those local governments have completely ignored the safety benefit of increasing the yellow light time and decided to install red-light cameras, shorten the yellow light duration, and collect the profits instead.

The cities in question include Union City, CA, Dallas and Lubbock, TX, Nashville and Chattanooga, TN, and Springfield, MO, according to Motorists.org, which collected information from reports from around the country.


Posted by Route66, a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Everyone who gets a rolling right ticket should call their State legislators and their auto club, and suggest that the fine be reduced to an appropriate-yet-still-behavior-modifying level of $20 or $30.

To those who think they're above all this: Get out your wallet! You need to buy a $300 system to warn you when you're coming to a camera enforced location. Why?

The drivers in front of you will be exhibiting unexpected behavior, like slamming on their brakes on a brand new yellow. The warning will save you from rear-ending them - an accident for which the law will automatically hold you responsible.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 5, 2008 at 2:28 pm

For another point of view, try the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Their FAQ, while admitting that there can be more rear end crashes, says that the crashes tend to be less less severe than those caused by red-light runners which leads to an "aggregate benefit" for society as a whole. That's good to hear.

Web Link


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2008 at 7:41 pm

City Hall Scammer is repeating severely biased propaganda from Motorists.org, an organization that wants drivers to be able to drive as fast as they can at all times and in all locations. Fines for running red lights, even making a rolling right turn, should be 10 times higher than they are now, not lower. Running red lights is extremely dangerous (there was a fatal crash in Palo Alto yestereday because of this). Even a "rolling right" is very bad for pedestrians who find drivers rolling through the crosswalk in front of them on a red light without looking first. If we can't have more enforcement, at least the punishment if you are ever caught should be so severe that you would never contemplate doing it again for the rest of your life.


Posted by City Hall Scammer, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 5, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Tell you what Donald. Lets eliminate all financial incentives for City Hall to install red lights, and the company that installs them to make an obscene profit.

Lets just assess a high driver's license point penalty to anyone caught by these camera's. Too many points, and as you well know, you lose your license. That way you are happy that the red light runners are taken off the roads, and I'm happy that City Hall isn't gouging up purely for financial profit, but is REALLY interested in our safety. Sounds good to me.

But without the financial windfall, City Hall would have no incentive to install this outrageous system that does very little to improve safety, and a lot to improve the coffers of this very greedy administration. Just take the profit out of it and see what happens.


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2008 at 10:00 am

I don't think that points hit people where it counts. It should really be dollars, although perhaps the money should go into a statewide safety fund instead of to the city.


Posted by Phil Granito, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Sep 9, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Getting rear ended at 5 or 10 mph is nothing compared to getting "T-boned" by a red light runner at 30 mph. In the latter case, a direct hit from the violator's bumper into the driver's or passenger's door almost certainly means death or permanent disability.

They should up those fines and/or suspend vehicles. Of course, we are ignoring the fact that about 10% of the cars on the roads have fake registrations and are driven by illegal immigrants who could care less about a red light camera. Enforcing car registrations would lower accidents by a much greater rate, in my opinion.


Posted by 25 cent, a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2008 at 7:31 pm

Why don't you, Menlo, fix that #$%@* intersection at Watkins and ECR???????????????


Posted by Just don't run the red, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 10, 2008 at 10:34 am

25 cent: If you want something done at Watkins and El Camino, you need to talk to Caltrans and the town of Atherton. It's not Menlo Park's jurisdiction.

Phil: Where on earth are you getting your statistics about the percentage of illegal immigrants driving? And why would they care any more or less about running red lights? Racist, much?


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Driving skills are so abysmally low across the board that it doesn't make sense to blame any particular sub-group of drivers. We have built an environment that makes driving almost mandatory, we give licenses with minimal training and testing, and have reduced enforcement to almost nothing. The result is roads full of incompetent and dangerous drivers who get all indignant when a city tries some new way to actually enforce the law.


Posted by Guido Veloce, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Sep 11, 2008 at 5:01 pm

There's such an easy solution to this: if you object to red light cameras, don't run red lights. Problem solved!


Posted by Pizza Eater, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 13, 2008 at 1:38 am

Let's apply Guidooos example to everything. If you object to wire tapping your phones, just don't say anything illegal. If you object to strip searches when exiting stores, just don't steal anything. Problem solved? These redlight cameras are just a backhanded way of raising revenue from drivers making rolling right hand turns at the stop light. They have NOTHING to do with safety. If you gave the revenue to the state as Donald suggested, Menlo Park would not install red light cameras.

What's wrong with the cameras? They cause just as many accidents as they prevent, and they are just another brick in the wall of Big Brother watching every move you make. Guidooo, doesn't mind being monitored 24 X 7, because it keeps him safe. Only crooks would mind being watched constantly everywhere, right?


Posted by Flint Stonefred, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 13, 2008 at 9:30 pm

Love the red light cameras -- wish they were installed at every intersection that has lights. I even wish a similar technology were available to fine people who roll through stop signs at 15-20 MPH, which seems to be 20-30% of drivers in Menlo Park. And, to the simpletons who get irate because the city makes money from these cameras, uh, duh? Why the hell not? Does the city make money when a traffic cop tickets someone for running a red light? And "Big Brother"? Please! You wish you were that important or interesting....

Flint


Posted by Concerened, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Sep 14, 2008 at 12:15 am

It's bad enough Menlo Park now looks like Little Palo Alto.
From what I understand there was a mass exedus of Police officers from the Menlo Park Police department within the past year.
Get the cops out of Starbucks sucking-down Lattes and out on the road where they are supposed to be. Menlo Park wouldn't need cameras if the police were doing there job(s).
As a 45 year resedent, Menlo Park is a hollow shell of years past.
What happened to the once wonderful city?
Concerned Citizen..


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2008 at 8:58 pm

Pizza Eater, you seem to think it is OK to make a "rolling right turn" on a red light. If so, I suggest you spend more time as a pedestrian or a bicyclist so you understand how dangerous this is. IT IS A VIOLATION OF THE LAW AND SHOULD BE ENFORCED AND ELIMINATED!


Posted by A Scam By Any Other Name, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 14, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Flint Stonefred:
"And, to the simpletons who get irate because the city makes money from these cameras, uh, duh? Why the hell not?"

Uh, actually the private firm who puts up the Big Brother signs makes the bulk of the $$$ - and that's really the problem here. If this was a city-run thing, with all the $$ going to the city, OK, but this is big business at work - ripping us off big time all in the name of "public safety." What a joke!


Posted by Guido Veloce, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Sep 15, 2008 at 11:16 am

Now red light cameras CAUSE accidents? It's amazing what lengths people will go to in order to justify their unsafe driving habits.

Rolling through a red on a right turn is dangerous, and it's drivers who don't understand this that make things like red light cameras necessary.

Next time you get behind the wheel, imagine that you are responsible for the safe opperation of a vehicle that could easily become a lethal weapon that could cause your own death, as well as the deaths of others. Now, open your eyes and drive like a responsible adult. Sheesh!


Posted by Flint Stonefred, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 15, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Someone wrote:

"Uh, actually the private firm who puts up the Big Brother signs makes the bulk of the $$$ - and that's really the problem here."

And, what, you would sooner have the city develop the technology for (R&D, production, etc.) and install and maintain these cameras, with city union employees, instead of having the private entity do so? This service is just like any other for which the city contracts with private agencies (garbage, road resurfacing, tree trimming, etc.), except that it will actually make money for the city. If the city makes that money at your expense then you've only yourself to blame. In the same way that the state lottery is a tax on stupidity, so too are these cameras levying taxes on reckless driving. I, personally, haven't paid one dime for these cameras, so I don't share the manic obsession that "this is big business at work - ripping us off big time all in the name of 'public safety.'"

Honestly, I haven't seen one rational argument opposing these cameras, and I won't count the increased frequency of accidents until I see a reputable source for those numbers, and data indicating the severity of accidents with and without cameras.

Flint


Posted by Info Provider, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 16, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Flint:
"Honestly, I haven't seen one rational argument opposing these cameras, and I won't count the increased frequency of accidents until I see a reputable source for those numbers, and data indicating the severity of accidents with and without cameras."

OK, Flint, here's your answer from the professionals involved (and not from the camera installation folks with a vested interest in pushing their product):

"Issues Related to Red-Light Camera Enforcement Systems"
ITE Journal, July 2008 (ITE: Institute of Transportation Engineers - the international educational and scientific association of transportation professionals, founded in 1930 and having nearly 17,000 members)
Web Link

The conclusion reached under "System Effectiveness":
"Most of the studies agreed that red-light cameras increased rear-end crashes (except the report in Iowa). Although some of them reported effectiveness in reducing red-light related crashes, other studies reported very little to no improvement."

And under "Conclusions":
"There has been a growing question about the validity of implementing the system and whether it is just a way to tax the motorist rather than promoting safety."

And the final paragraph in the article:
"Although very few studies reported benefits from red-light camera systems, they should not be discarded altogether. Studies should try to identify when it is justified to use the cameras to achieve better driving conditions for road users."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement!


Posted by Pizza Eater, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 17, 2008 at 8:56 am

Yes Guidooos, Red Light cameras CAUSE accidents. Forums like this are great for schooling those of you too lazy to use Google or go to the library.

I'll give you a tip, Guidoooos. When researching a topic, try to find an unbiased source, like don't troll police department studies for police brutality and don't go to Amnesty Intl either, your findings will be predictable.

These cameras CAUSE rear end accidents and serve mainly as revenue streams for the city, just like the parking Nazis downtown Menlo Park. There is little to NO value safety-wise to these cameras.

You want total monitoring of your driving Guidooos. How about speeding cameras on your neighborhood street, set precisely for 20 mph with no slack, and let us put them on the highways as well. Every little mistake you make, whether it is unsafe or not, every little driving violation you make, let us take your money.

Do your homework.


Posted by Flint Stonefred, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 17, 2008 at 10:48 am

"Info Provider" and "Pizza Eater" may wish to try this. Go to the web link offered above by Info Provider (Web Link), the home/main page for ITE, and note that there is no clear link to "Issues Related to Red-Light Camera Enforcement Systems". Undaunted, use ITE's search feature (upper right corner in the Navigation bar) with the following string: "issues related to red-light camera". Note the first link in the search results:

Web Link

The above link is one to a two-page PDF document titled, "Using Red-Light Cameras to Reduce Red-Light Running (RLR)" which carries both the ITE and the U.S. Department of Transportation logos on the cover page. Here are some direct quotes from that document:

"Crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that in the year 2002, there were 921 fatalities and 178,000
injuries resulting from 207,000 crashes attributable to motorists running red lights at signalized intersections. The number of fatal motor vehicle crashes at traffic signals is rising faster than any
other type of fatal crash nationwide."

"RLR has become a national safety problem, with a societal cost estimated at $14 billion per year."

"Motorists are more likely to be injured in crashes involving RLR than in other types of crashes. Occupant injuries occurred in 45 percent of the RLR crashes, compared to 30 percent in other crash types."

"According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation and American Trauma Society, 63 percent of Americans witness a RLR incident more than once a week. One in three Americans knows someone who has been injured or killed because of a red-light runner."

"According to survey research, drivers believe RLR is often an intentional act with few legal consequences. The traditional way of
enforcing this violation is to station a patrol vehicle near an intersection. This method is dangerous for the officer, expensive to localities and drains valuable police resources."

"Crashes resulting from red-light running are much more likely to cause an injury or fatality than other intersection crashes."

"The solution to the RLR problem involves a combination of engineering, education and enforcement measures. Research suggests that 'intentional' red-light runners, who account for a significant percentage of red-light runners, are most affected by enforcement
countermeasures."

"The usage of automated RLR enforcement is increasing with more than 90 jurisdictions in 15 states deploying one or more camera systems."

"Based on a literature review and jurisdiction survey reported in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program Synthesis 310, Impact of Red Light Camera Enforcement on Crash Experience, a majority of jurisdictions reported downward trends in RLR-related violations and crashes, especially the more severe kind, because of red-light cameras."

"In Fairfax, VA, violations were reduced by 41 percent after the
first year of camera enforcement."

"San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA, realized a 68- and 92-percent
reduction in violations, respectively."

"In Charlotte, NC, RLR violations were reduced by more than 70
percent during the first year of operation."

"In Oxnard, CA, the number of crashes at all signalized intersections was reduced by 7 percent and the number of injury crashes was reduced by 29 percent."

So, I'm not sure where Info Beffudler's "data" truly comes from but it's clearly at odds with information from the very source s/he cites. But that's to be expected when one's manic agenda trumps rational thought.

The document does note that RLR-camera programs "should not be implemented to increase revenue from citations" and that jurisdictions should "avoid compensating vendors based on number of citations." Whether one agrees or disagrees with either stipulation, the case for RLR-camera installation and subsequent safety gains is pretty clear.

Flint




Posted by Info Provider, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 17, 2008 at 11:40 am

Flint,

I'll call you study for study, and raise you one. Studies indicate that Red Light Cameras Don't Work

Interesting: the solution to one problem causes another.

"The rigorous studies clearly show red-light cameras don't work," said lead author Barbara Langland-Orban, professor and chair of health policy and management at the USF College of Public Health. "Instead, they increase crashes and injuries as drivers attempt to abruptly stop at camera intersections."

Comprehensive studies from North Carolina, Virginia, and Ontario have all reported cameras are associated with increases in crashes. The study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council also found that cameras were linked to increased crash costs. The only studies that conclude cameras reduced crashes or injuries contained "major research design flaws," such as incomplete data or inadequate analyses, and were always conducted by researchers with links to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS, funded by automobile insurance companies, is the leading advocate for red-light cameras since insurance companies can profit from red-light cameras by way of higher premiums due to increased crashes and citations.

And, of course, the agenda of the government is to increase revenue due to fines:

A 2001 paper by the Office of the Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives reported that red-light cameras are "a hidden tax levied on motorists." The report came to the same conclusions that all of the other valid studies have, that red-light cameras are associated with increased crashes and that the timings at yellow lights are often set too short to increase tickets for red-light running. That's right, the state actually tampers with the yellow light settings to make them shorter, and more likely to turn red as you're driving through them.

In fact, six U.S. cities have been found guilty of shortening the yellow light cycles below what is allowed by law on intersections equipped with cameras meant to catch red-light runners. Those local governments have completely ignored the safety benefit of increasing the yellow light time and decided to install red-light cameras, shorten the yellow light duration, and collect the profits instead.

The cities in question include Union City, CA, Dallas and Lubbock, TX, Nashville and Chattanooga, TN, and Springfield, MO, according to Motorists.org, which collected information from reports from around the country.


Posted by Pizza Eater, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 17, 2008 at 11:43 am

Hey Flint,

One of the cities caught shortening yellow lights to increase revenue is just across the bridge from us, Union City, CA. Gee, I wonder where our money grubbing city hall got the idea for Red Light Cameras?


Posted by Money Grubbers, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Sep 17, 2008 at 11:54 am

I'm having a hard time finding anyone trustworthy who gives a thumbs up to the red light cameras.

What metric has been proposed that justifies them, aside from a new tax on motorists? I mean where does the support come from, other than from those who plan to collect revenue from sales and usage?

As I mentioned back in 2005, a judge in San Diego was forced to overturn all red light camera tickets due to unethical management:

Web Link

There is a really troubling back-story to the officials in Lubbock, Texas who supported the cameras:

Web Link

"Controversy erupted in February when local television station KCBD documented the short yellow times, including one intersection with a 2.9 second timing, below the minimum required under federal law. The revelation delayed the program so long that the city, depending on $2 million in expected ticket profit, was forced to impose a hiring freeze to maintain solvency."

Forget the cameras, I see this as officials in Texas using TRAPS for MORE MONEY.

This is not really an indictment of a type of technology itself but rather a case of graft and corruption in the US among those who have been trusted to manage public safety.

Citizens in Philadelphia have documented the exact link:

"...the red-light-camera program has created more jobs for Republican ward leaders, committeemen and their families. [...] More than anyone else, the [thousands of dollars of] contributions have flowed to state Rep. John Perzel, the Northeast Philadelphia Republican who engineered a GOP takeover of the Parking Authority in mid-2001."

In other words, the real story is that corruption of elected officials, and lack of power balances, has led to massive fraud and graft under the guise of security programs.


Posted by Flint Stonefred, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 17, 2008 at 12:48 pm

You failed to cite your sources, Info Provider (as did your echo, Pizza Eater). I don't doubt that some jurisdictions have gamed the system by decreasing yellow-light times or what have you, but that is a secondary issue to safety in this debate. I favor the red light cameras because there seems to be sufficient evidence to suggest that they decrease the number of red-light-runner accidents, perhaps at the cost of more rear-end accidents. But as the source that you so graciously provided me states in the document linked in my previous post, red-light-runner accidents are by far the most dangerous, and are an ever-growing problem in this country as impatient, self-important people increasingly feel it beneath them to wait an extra few minutes at a stop light. You and Pizza Eater clearly fall into that group, as well as into the "Big Brother is pulling at my waistband to get a look at and tax my butt-crack" group of conspiracy-loving manic obsessionists.

Please try to separate the issues here and think rationally about each. If you can't discount the assertion, provided by the source you gave me, that red-light-runner accidents are the most dangerous kind that occur at an intersection, and that red-light cameras do have a tendency to curb red-light-running behavior, then I'll join your camp and rail with you at the corruption that spawned the very idea (while tightening my waistband, of course).

Flint


Posted by Guido Veloce, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Sep 17, 2008 at 4:31 pm

I think I'd rather be rear-ended at a low speed than T-boned mid-intersection by some self-important clod running a red light.


Posted by Sarah Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 17, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Flint,

I haven't had any problem finding the sources quoted by those above on the problems with Red Light Cameras. In fact a cursory search on the topic reveals that many states that thought that cameras were useful have reversed course. Feel free to google.


States giving yellow light to revenue-light cameras

Missouri House votes against intersection red light cameras

Texas Red light camera revenue sits unspent

Dallas City Hall has idled more than one-fourth of the 62 cameras

North Carolina Appeals Court Rules Against Red Light Cameras

Washington State initiative could stop red-light cameras

New Mexico Governor Signs Law Limiting Ticket Camera Profit




Posted by Pizza Eater, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 17, 2008 at 8:25 pm

Gee, Flint, so many studies showing that Red Light Cameras lead to more crashes, so little time. Happy reading.

A UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA STUDY says that red-light cameras lead to more crashes.

I can't say I'm surprised.

Red Light Running Cameras: Would Crashes, Injuries and Automobile
Insurance Rates Increase If They Are Used in Florida?
Florida Public Health Review, 2008; 5:1-7 1
Web Link
Barbara Langland-Orban, Ph.D., MSPH
Etienne E. Pracht, Ph.D.
John T. Large, PhD.

Web Link


Posted by Info Provider, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 17, 2008 at 8:32 pm


In Ohio voters overwhelmingly rejected red-light cameras. They generally do, if allowed to vote on the subject, which is why cities do their best not to give them the opportunity. . . .

How about it Menlo Park. Lets have a vote on those Red Light Cameras the city has set up. I guess we know why they don't let us vote on that one. Democracy in action by the Menlo Park money grubbers. Let these clowns put the cameras in for red lights, and it is a slippery slope, you will soon have speeding cameras set up around town as well.

Steubenville, Ohio Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Speed Cameras
Steubenville, Ohio becomes the fourth US community that has voted on and rejected photo radar.

An overwhelming majority of voters in Steubenville, Ohio rejected the city's speed camera program yesterday in a referendum on whether the city ordinance authorizing the program should stand. With all precincts reporting, 76.2 percent of voters said "no."

The program began last year issuing nearly 7000 tickets worth $85 each to motorists driving as little as 5 MPH over the speed limit. It would have generated nearly $600,000 in revenue until Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas Judge David E. Henderson struck down the city ordinance as illegal in March. Because the city is bound by contract to continue the services of German camera operator Traffipax, regardless of the program's legality, it defied the judge's order and reinstated an essentially identical ordinance to continue issuing citations.

Tuesday's vote puts an end to the traffic cameras and serves as a victory for attorney Gary Stern who won a class action lawsuit to return the money that had been illegally collected from motorists. He also gathered enough signatures to put the speed camera question to a vote of the people. The public has never voted in favor of photo enforcement. Between 1991 and 1997, voters turned out in Batavia, Illinois; Peoria, Arizona and Anchorage, Alaska to reject photo radar.


Posted by Echo Chamber, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 17, 2008 at 8:40 pm

We just moved here from Carmel, Indiana where traffic lights are practically nonexistant, and hence there is no need for red light cameras.

The solution was roundabouts, which speeds up traffic, puts the responsibility of safe driving on drivers and has resulted in less accidents and fatalities.

Here's an interesting piece that substantiates that study:

Web Link


Posted by Laughing at you, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 17, 2008 at 8:44 pm

BUT I THOUGHT RED-LIGHT CAMERAS WERE ALL ABOUT SAFETY:

DALLAS - Dallas has turned off about 15 red-light cameras used to monitor busy intersections. The city said the cameras are failing to generate enough red-light-running fines to justify their costs.

Dallas lawmakers originally estimated a gross yearly revenue of about $15 million for the system. The city is about $4 million below that estimate.

Safety second, revenue first, apparently. I hope the numbers for Menlo Park's redlight cameras don't end up the same way.


Posted by Geezer Smasher, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 17, 2008 at 8:49 pm

"Big Brother is pulling at my waistband to get a look at and tax my butt-crack" group of conspiracy-loving manic obsessionists.

TENS OF THOUSANDS OF GOVERNMENT SPYCAMS, but 80% of London crime is unsolved. That's because spycams aren't about solving crime, just as red-light cameras aren't about traffic safety.

Read it yourself Flint and get a clue. The truth is out there even for old folks just learning to use the internet.

Web Link


Posted by Robbie, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 18, 2008 at 9:03 am

While studies may show that rear-enders increase in the presence of red light cameras, I think it is a distortion to say that the cameras **CAUSED** the crashes. If the cameras had robotic arms that reached out and pushed the cars, then that would be a fair statement. Otherwise I would have to say that inattentive motorists who are following too closely are more likely to be in crashes where there are red light cameras. The real cause is still the driver's behavior, and blaming the camera overlooks the underlying problem. If cameras don't work we still need a way to improve the quality and safety of our drivers. I haven't heard any positive suggestions from anyone on this forum.


Posted by Echo Chamber, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 18, 2008 at 10:11 am

Read my piece Robbie, it is a positive suggestion unlike your comments.


Posted by Geezer Smasher, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 18, 2008 at 10:25 am

"Big Brother is pulling at my waistband to get a look at and tax my butt-crack" group of conspiracy-loving manic obsessionists.

Be careful Flint, and start being rational about the slippery slope that installing Red Light Camera's lead to. The next step is speed cameras, and now tying them together.

Ohhhh, that is already happening here, for those of you with your heads in the sand. Conspiracy theory, no. Reality, yes. Just vote no for cameras in Menlo Park, and no worries. But then again, those money grubbing, butt-crack sniffers at city hall will fight any efforts to allow its citizens to vote on these issues. They know the results would be a resounding NO!

"USING RED-LIGHT AND SPEED CAMERAS together with tag-reading OCR software to track drivers nationwide. It's like that was the plan all along."

Photo Ticket Cameras to Track Drivers Nationwide

Vendors plan to add spy technology to existing red light camera and speed camera installations.

Monitoring centerPrivate companies in the US are hoping to use red light cameras and speed cameras as the basis for a nationwide surveillance network similar to one that will be active next year in the UK. Redflex and American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the top two photo enforcement providers in the US, are quietly shopping new motorist tracking options to prospective state and local government clients. Redflex explained the company's latest developments in an August 7 meeting with Homestead, Florida officials.

"We are moving into areas such as homeland security on a national level and on a local level," Redflex regional director Cherif Elsadek said. "Optical character recognition is our next roll out which will be coming out in a few months -- probably about five months or so."

The technology would be integrated with the Australian company's existing red light camera and speed camera systems. It allows officials to keep full video records of passing motorists and their passengers, limited only by available hard drive space and the types of cameras installed. To gain public acceptance, the surveillance program is being initially sold as an aid for police looking to solve Amber Alert cases and locate stolen cars.

"Imagine if you had 1500 or 2000 cameras out there that could look out for the partial plate or full plate number across the 21 states where we do business today," Elsadek said. "This is the next step for our technology."

ATS likewise is promoting motorist tracking technologies. In a recent proposal to operate 200 speed cameras for the Arizona state police, the company explained that its ticketing cameras could be integrated into a national vehicle tracking database. This would allow a police officer to simply enter a license plate number into a laptop computer and receive an email as soon as a speed camera anywhere in the state recognized that plate.

Such programs would be fully consistent with existing law on searches and seizures. In the 2003 case Washington v. William Bradley Jackson, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that police could not use a physical GPS tracking device to monitor a suspect's movements without first obtaining a warrant. No warrant would be needed or restrictions applied to license plate tracking systems which do not require any physical contact. Instead, individual police officers could monitor the movements of suspected criminals or even their wives and neighbors at any time.

In the past, police databases have been used to intimidate innocent motorists. An Edmonton, Canada police sergeant, for example, found himself outraged after he read columnist Kerry Diotte criticize his city's photo radar operation in the Edmonton Sun newspaper. The sergeant looked up Diotte's personal information, and, without the assistance of electronic scanners, ordered his subordinates to "be on the lookout" for Diotte's BMW. Eventually a team of officers followed Diotte to a local bar where they hoped to trap the journalist and accuse him of driving under the influence of alcohol. Diotte took a cab home and the officers' plan was exposed after tapes of radio traffic were leaked to the press. Police later cleared themselves of any serious wrong-doing following an extensive investigation.

In the UK, officials are planning to dramatically expand the use of average speed cameras that track cars over distances as great as six miles. Records on all vehicle movements taken from a nationwide network of cameras will be stored for five years in a central government Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) server, allowing police to keep tabs on criminals and political opponents. Work on the data center in north London began in 2005 and officials expect real-time, nationwide tracking capability to be available by January.


Posted by 25 cent, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 10:57 am

"Just don't run the red":
I thought I voted for some local repesenters ?? !!


Posted by 25 cents, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 11:04 am

"Just don't run the red" :

RACIST !!!


Posted by Crash Test Dummy, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 11:48 am

Traffic gods, save us from paranoid libertarians!


Posted by Info Provider, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 18, 2008 at 9:58 pm

Flint:
Your ITE citation is a simple "Issue Brief" from the US DOT back in 2004.
Mine is from the July, 2008 issue of "ITE Journal" - sorry, but as it is a professional journal (in other words, worth some $$$), it is not made available for free online. I'm sure you could access it in print or online at Stanford or Cal.
Bottom Line: A lot has happened over the past 4 years. Legitimate push-back has occurred, forcing a closer look at this simplistic answer and, as a result, professional opinions have changed.


Posted by Robbie, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 20, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Echo Chamber has recommended traffic circles instead of traffic lights. This is a good idea for roads which have only a single lane in each direction. It allows traffic to keep moving, although slowly, and avoids backups waiting for a green. Multi-lane traffic circles or roundabouts are chaotic disasters and are not recommended, so they are not a solution for intersections on El Camino. Circles also take up a lot of space which is not always available in built-up locations.


Posted by Echo Chamber, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 20, 2008 at 6:52 pm

I respectfully disagree with Robbie, who believes that roundabouts are only for single lane roads or roads that don't have a lot of traffic.

In addition to living in Carmel, Indiana, I also lived in England for 3 years where multilane roundabouts were the norm, and so this proposal should be looked at by all municipalities. A good website to look at and see how more and more cities are coming to this conclusion is at:
Web Link

It lists all the states that have made the change from traffic lights at intersections to roundabouts. Redlight cameras are more of a problem than a solution, and usually are used solely for revenue generation and not for safety. When revenue dries up, the cameras go, or the city starts cheating by speeding up the yellow caution light to pump up revenue.

Cheers,


Posted by Pizza Eater, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 22, 2008 at 8:14 pm

Justin Owen, Director of Legal Policy, and Research Associate George Shifflett over at the Tennessee Center for Policy Research have released their findings after studying the effectiveness of red light cameras. They're bad, okay:

The report suggests that cities cease operating the red light camera programs and instead opt for a safer, more effective and less intrusive solution such as extending yellow light times.

"Red light cameras are a troubling example of how government and business put money over safety and common sense to tag team Tennessee's drivers," Owen said. "It's sickening that cities would put drivers in danger and the Constitution in peril just to make a quick buck."

Read the full report.

Web Link


Posted by Guido Veloce, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Sep 23, 2008 at 11:46 am

Maybe we should all just raise taxes on ourselves so we can afford to keep a traffic cop stationed at every major intersection to ticket idiots who run red lights.


Posted by Pizza Eater, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 23, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Or we could just "opt for a safer, more effective and less intrusive solution such as extending yellow light times."

Why is it that a certain faction, has a knee jerk reaction, like lets raise taxes, to every problem out there. Let's throw money at this problem. Schools broke? Mo Money. Red Light running? Mo money.

NASA spent millions developing a pen that could write upside down and in weightless space. After the Soviet Union collapsed, we wanted to compare notes and asked their space program how they solved the writing in space problem. They looked at us like we were insane (same look I'm giving Guidoo) and said . . . "We use a pencil".


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