Gold Canyon gets first photo radar; Deputies place camera on Don Donnelly Drive
By Hazel Lodevico, Independent Newspapers

Speeding motorists in Gold Canyon could be the first caught by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office’s new photo radar devices.

Officer Gerry Monahan told members at an Association for the Development of a Better Environment meeting April 19 Don Donnelly Drive will be the first street covered by the mobile photo enforcement devices.

“We will be the first county to have this opportunity in Arizona,” Officer Monahan said of the mobile devices.

According to Project Manager Cpl. Paul Compton, the photo radar could be implemented within 60 days after the equipment is cleared with the justice courts and county.

“These will be units set up at certain locations where needs have been determined,” Cpl. Compton said. He said these areas include where speeding complaints and accidents have been frequent such as Superstition Mountain Boulevard and Kings Ranch Road in Gold Canyon and Hunt Highway and Ironwood Drive between Apache Junction and Queen Creek.

The mobile devices will be placed in parked vans throughout areas of Precinct 7 of Pinal County, including parts of Apache Junction and Queen Creek.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office will send violating motorists a 30-day warning period. After this period, motorists must report to the Pinal County Justice Court, 575 N. Idaho Road.

Cpl. Compton said he did not know why Don Donnelly Drive was selected as the first street where the Sheriff’s Office will use the photo radar, yet he said speeding is a major problem.

“It’s reassuring to know people will slow down there,” said ADOBE president Dan Hjartarson, who indicated he has seen motorists traveling down the street well beyond the posted 35 mph limit.

Several agencies across the state have installed permanent photo radar devices and report significant decreases in accidents in their cities.

According to statistics released by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Mesa Police Department showed a 15 percent decrease in total collisions after photo radar was installed in 1995.

The study also tracked six of the original intersections equipped with photo red-light cameras and indicated there was a 22 percent decrease in collisions caused by red-light runners at the same locations from 1999 to 2000 n despite the increase in traffic volume and increased population.

The study also indicated accidents decreased in locations in Scottsdale after the city adopted photo enforcement in 1997.

“I see this as another useful law enforcement for this area,” Cpl. Compton said. “People do slow down when they know they’re being watched and can be caught. It does work in increasing safety and decreasing accidents.”

Post your opinions in the Public Issues Forums at News Editor Hazel Lodevico can be reached at 480-982-7799 or