Aldermen approve camera installation at intersections

Aldermen approve camera installation at intersections
By Jessica Bock

WENTZVILLE Aldermen agreed Wednesday evening to move forward with installing cameras at certain intersections to catch red-light runners.

Police Chief Robert Noonan recommended to the board that the city pursue a contract with Redflex, a company that also has installed red-light cameras in the city of St. Peters.

"It's as if you are putting a police officer at that intersection 24 hours a day," Noonan said.

Mayor Paul Lambi said the cameras are a way to increase public safety and reduce traffic crashes at intersections.

Last year, 577 crashes happened at intersections in Wentzville that resulted in 59 injuries, Noonan said.

"The accident rates will increase unless we do something to prevent people from running red lights," he said.

A growing population has also has meant more traffic in Wentzville, and many residents complain to the police department about drivers who run red lights, Noonan has said, citing Wentzville Parkway as an example.

Red-light enforcement cameras can take photos of license plate numbers and drivers who enter intersections when the light is red.

Many municipalities in the St. Louis area are turning to companies that offer red-light camera enforcement. Besides St. Peters, Arnold and Florissant also have red-light cameras. St. Charles is considering the idea.

The service would cost the city nothing. The company would install the cameras, send tickets to violators and receive part of the fines paid by violators.

Aldermen began discussing the issue last August. Three companies have presented their systems to the city.

Redflex would study which intersections need enforcement before setting up cameras in those areas. Typically, signs alert drivers that they are entering an intersection with red-light camera enforcement.

The board directed the city attorney to draft an ordinance that would authorize red-light enforcement cameras in the city.

Also at Wednesday's work session, the board discussed the latest draft of its tree preservation bill. The board is expected to hear a first reading of the bill at its Feb. 28 meeting. | 636-255-7208