Just the ticket: traffic cameras
By Rob O'Dell
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 11.11.2006
He's coming to town, and he'll know if you've been bad or good.
He also might send you a ticket in the mail.
The new program the city is contemplating comes trimmed in red, but it's not Santa Claus. It's an unflinching eye at intersections designed to catch red-* light runners flying illegally through intersections.
On Tuesday the City Council will consider implementing a policy that would put the cameras at certain intersections, along with a mobile photo radar van that could be deployed to different problem areas throughout the city to catch speeders.
Councilman Jose Ibarra, who put the issue on Tuesday's agenda, said photo radar vans can be particularly effective at slowing speeds in school zones where drivers are ignoring speed limits, such as outside Vail Middle School on Craycroft Road between 22nd Street and Broadway.
"The reality is this: We need to use every tool available to ensure public safety," Ibarra said. "People who are running red lights are causing accidents."
The Tucson Police Department sent a memo to the council this week that said the cameras have been effective in cities around Phoenix, reducing side impacts in crashes at red light intersections in Chandler by 42 percent and reducing fatal accidents in Phoenix by 25 percent.
Ibarra said he understands the public may have issues with the system that snaps pictures of the face and license plate of the driver and then sends a ticket in the mail once an officer has signed off on it. To remedy concerns, Ibarra said he wants to hold a public hearing, along with town hall meetings in all of the city's six wards.
Councilwoman Carol West said her constituents have both pleaded for the cameras and railed against them. "I'm open-minded about it," West said.
Contact reporter Rob O'Dell at 573-4240 or rodell@azstarnet.com