Two more cities in Iowa ponder traffic cameras
Those communities are close to signing a contract, says Arizona-based technology firm Redflex.


June 29, 2006

At least two other Iowa cities are close to signing contracts with an Arizona-based company to bring stoplight-monitoring technology to their streets, the firm's representative said Wednesday.

Clive on Wednesday became the third Iowa city to have operational camera systems designed to catch red-light runners. Council Bluffs and Davenport have similar systems.

Steven Madson, a regional representative for Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., said officials in at least two other Iowa cities have nearly finalized plans to install traffic cameras. He declined to say which towns. "If they had signed the contract, I could give you a name."

Madson joined Clive officials Wednesday to unveil the camera system at a media event near the intersection of Hickman Road and 156th Street, where two cameras are set up. Cameras at three other intersections along Hickman will be activated today.

The event marked the beginning of a one-month grace period during which motorists who run red lights will receive warnings in the mail. Next month, police will mail violators $75 citations.

Madson said Iowa is a leader in the region for implementing the traffic technology. Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin don't have any stoplight cameras, he said. Minnesota and South Dakota each have only one city equipped with the automated technology.

"Iowa always tries to be on the cutting edge of things," said Madson, who grew up in the Des Moines area and now lives in Minnesota.

Redflex is leasing six cameras to Clive for a monthly fee of about $5,000 each. Based on conservative estimates, the new system is expected to generate about $1 million for the city.

Clive will add another camera at 86th Street and Hickman Road next spring after planned construction there is finished.

Area residents have mixed feelings about the new technology.

"That's a trap on Hickman," said Robert "Bud" Garmon of Des Moines. "To me, this has been set up for a long time to have these cameras."

Garmon used to live near Hickman Road in Des Moines, and he frequently traveled the road through Clive to get to Interstate Highway 35/80.

"It was really frustrating," he said. "If you caught one red light, you would catch every red. Those lights should be synchronized."

Don Hagquist of Johnston said he hopes officials can tune the system well enough that it doesn't wrongly cite drivers.

"If it can be set right, I don't really have a problem with it," he said. "It's not going to affect me."