Red light cameras possible by fall

by the Gazette-Times

ALBANY — The city of Albany might have its first red-light cameras as early as this fall.

A work group plans to issue a request for proposals by the end of this month. Vendors will have until June 30 to submit proposals, and the city hopes to invite them to give demonstrations of their systems by July 19.

Once a vendor is selected, the first of the cameras could be installed by the fall, according to Patrick Hurley, the crime analyst in the police department who has been doing the staff work on the camera idea.

Hurley spoke with the City Council on Monday to answer concerns before finalizing the request for proposals.

Councilman Dick Olsen asked who controlled the timing of traffic lights. Hurley said this is done by the city or the state, not the company selected to operate the cameras.

State law allows Albany to install cameras at up to eight intersections, but the city work group has been talking about a smaller number.

“We may find only one or two worth doing,” Hurley said.

The cameras would snap photos of vehicles that run red lights. The photos would be submitted to the police, who would determine whether to mail a ticket.

Any tickets would go to the registered owners.

Hurley said five or six companies supply the camera systems.

Under the city plan, a vendor would install and operate the cameras and receive a portion of the fines collected for violations.

It has not been determined where the cameras would be installed.

The request for proposals would also ask for an engineering study to help settle that question, according to Hurley.

A ticket for running a red light in Albany says the base fine is $242, but if the violator appears in city court or writes a letter the fine usually is reduced to $203.

If running a red light causes an accident, the base fine is $278, which can be reduced to $229.

Copyright © 2006 Corvallis Gazette-Times