Avondale OKs speed cameras for 6-month trial

Dennis Godfrey
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 22, 2007 01:38 PM
Drivers in Avondale will soon be subject to photo enforcement of speeding laws.

The City Council has approved a six-month trial of using the equipment in a mobile van. The approval was over the objection of Councilman Jim Buster.

Buster said he was in favor when the city brought in cameras to check red-light violators.

"I said then if it morphed into photo radar, that that would be too far for me," he said.

"While I think the speed limit should be enforced, I don't want to have a camera on every corner. I think we're headed in a direction where we would do that," he added.

Councilman Ken Weise disagreed.

"It's very easy not to be ticketed by photo radar: don't speed," he said.

Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers said speeding was a concern for Avondale residents.

"Every neighborhood meeting . . . everywhere I go, speeding is the biggest issue," she said.

Police Chief Kevin Kotsur said only warning tickets would be issued in the first month of the trial. In addition, the photo enforcement vehicle will be clearly marked, signs will be posted warning drivers of the enforcement equipment and the site of the van will be posted on the city's Web site, www.ci.avondale.az.us.

With a photo enforcement system, excessive speeds can be detected automatically with radar. A photo is taken of the front of the car, with the intent of identifying the driver. A second photo is taken of the vehicle's rear to get the license plate number.

Kotsur said an officer will look at all the photos and the speed information and determine who is to get a ticket.

Drivers would have the same rights to a court hearing as those ticketed by a live officer.

The enforcement van is expected to be on the street at varying times and locations, starting in mid-March.