Loop 101 camera test ends Oct. 23
Officials will review project's effectiveness; future use is unclear
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 18, 2006 12:00 AM
The shutter closes on Scottsdale's Loop 101 photo enforcement test next month, at least temporarily.
As the nine-month experiment ends, it is unclear if city officials will try to permanently secure the cameras that have digitally flashed more than 191,000 speeders at six locations between Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard since January.
The cameras are scheduled to be switched off Oct. 23, giving a panel of transportation and public safety experts time to review the traffic data and to determine if the information proves the cameras make the Loop 101 safer.
City transportation officials will update the Scottsdale City Council on Oct. 3, asking for direction on the issue that has raised the ire of some drivers, while comforting others. No vote is currently scheduled.
It could take until December before Scottsdale considers any further agreements with state agencies such as the Department of Transportation, one of several groups represented on the Loop 101 cameras' Technical Evaluation Committee, officials said. The city would need to apply for an additional right-of-way permit through ADOT to maintain the speed-enforcement cameras beyond October.
Scottsdale hired Arizona State University Professor Simon Washington, an expert on transportation safety and planning, to lead the group of experts from AAA Arizona, ADOT, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Federal Highway Administration, Maricopa County, the Maricopa Association of Governments and the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.
The group will review fatalities, collision rates, average speeds and the number of speeding citations to judge the effectiveness of the freeway cameras. Scottsdale has maintained its objective is to "change drivers' behavior" on Loop 101.
"We're relying on them to bring their agencies' expertise to the table," Scottsdale spokesman Patt Dodds said of group members.
As of Tuesday, more than 72,300 cases had been filed in Scottsdale City Court against freeway speeders More than 61 percent of those have been closed.
After a one-month grace period, Scottsdale began issuing citations Feb. 22 to drivers clocked going 11 mph or more over the 65 mph speed limit.
Over the past month, cameras flashed about 107 drivers per day, compared with about 130 drivers per day after citations were first issued.
Officials said that pattern of an initial spike in speed data, followed by a gradual decline over the next several months, is comparable to the pattern noted when speed-enforcement cameras were installed on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, east of Scottsdale Road.
Scottsdale is also "in the black" on freeway speed-enforcement spending, Dodds said.
The tickets have generated about $2 million. Scottsdale has spent up to $1.4 million on the Loop 101 project for additional court staff to handle the influx of speeding tickets and other costs.
The Loop 101 cameras are installed and managed by Scottsdale-based Redflex Traffic Systems as part of the city's existing photo-enforcement contract.
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