Governor: Speed cameras seem to complement patrols

Jessica Coomes
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 19, 2006 12:00 AM

SCOTTSDALE - More Arizona communities should consider mounting speed-enforcement cameras like those that dot Loop 101 if Scottsdale's nine-month test proves to make roads safer, Gov. Janet Napolitano said Monday.

"At least anecdotally, it has been a successful complement to officers on patrol," Napolitano said about the cameras that run the 8 miles of Loop 101, from Shea Boulevard to Scottsdale Road.

The governor said the cameras appear to be changing driver behavior. She suggested that photo-enforcement equipment not be removed Oct. 23 when the cameras are switched off for an evaluation by transportation and public-safety officials.

So far, 191,000 drivers have been snapped by the cameras.

Napolitano tied her remarks to Arizona's swelling population and how the state's infrastructure needs to adapt.

The governor spoke at the recently opened Granite Reef Senior Center during a public forum, part of a series of public-policy meetings Napolitano has scheduled across Arizona.

The Democrat governor's handlers insisted that it was not a campaign event, though she is running for a second four-year term against Republican challenger Len Munsil in the Nov. 7 general election.

Arizona, which is now home to more than 6 million people, could have as many as 14 million residents by 2040, Napolitano said.

"We are building our state as we speak," she said. "We are a young state. We can build our future."

Traffic congestion on Interstate 17, north of Phoenix, is an example of poor infrastructure planning, Napolitano said, and she does not want to wait until millions of new people move into Arizona to accommodate them.

Arizona's water, schools, hospitals and open land - which all contribute to the "quintessential Arizona quality of life" - all need to be carefully managed for growth, she said.

The governor said she supports Proposition 106, a general-election ballot measure that would preserve nearly 700,000 acres of state trust land across Arizona.

The citizens' initiative, known as Conserving Arizona's Future, would include several square miles in north Scottsdale, mostly northeast of Dynamite Boulevard and Pima Road, which could be added to the city's McDowell Sonoran Preserve.