Red-light cameras proposed in unincorporated areas in Riverside County

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10:00 PM PDT on Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Press-Enterprise
RIVERSIDE - Supervisor John Tavaglione wants to install automatic camera systems at problem intersections in unincorporated areas to catch motorists who run red lights.
Under a proposal being considered by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, a red-light photo enforcement camera system would be installed at intersections in the 2nd District in a pilot program to evaluate their effectiveness.
If the program proves successful, it would be expanded into other parts of the county, the proposal says.
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William Wilson Lewis III / The Press-Enterprise
A supervisor wants automatic camera systems, such as this one, installed at problem intersections in unincorporated areas.

If supervisors approve the measure, county transportation officials would work with the California Highway Patrol in setting up the program and evaluating possible vendors. Supervisors will meet at 9 a.m. at the County Administrative Center, 4080 Lemon St.
Tavaglione represents the 2nd District, which includes the unincorporated communities of Rubidoux, Glen Avon, Pedley, Mira Loma, Eastvale, Sunnyslope and Home Gardens
Traffic Safety an Issue
The proposal is the outgrowth of resident concerns expressed at community meetings throughout Tavaglione's district, said John Field, Tavaglione's chief of staff.
"Traffic safety is a key issue wherever we hold community meetings," Field said. "But we need more tools to get people to slow down and obey the law."
Staff members from Tavaglione's office have held two meetings with Redflex Traffic Systems, the company that operates cameras in the cities of Riverside, Moreno Valley and Loma Linda, Field said.
Also attending were Juan Perez, Riverside County's director of transportation, and CHP Capt. Tom McCreary.
The CHP oversees traffic enforcement in unincorporated areas of Riverside County.
No-Cost Plan
Field said that Redflex representatives say the system is installed at no cost to the customer and that the revenue generated by citations covers the monthly fee paid to the company to operate and maintain the cameras.
"There will be no cost to the county," Field said.
Field said intersections on Limonite Avenue, Van Buren Boulevard, Mission Boulevard, Magnolia Avenue in Home Gardens and Archibald Avenue in Eastvale are under consideration for cameras.
Eastvale resident Dickie Simmons said he welcomes the installation of the red-light cameras.
"It's like having a traffic cop on the corner watching your activities to ensure safety," Simmons said.
"At every town hall meeting we have, traffic safety is a major issue."
'Necessary Evil'
Evon Berghamer, the owner of De Anza True Value Hardware in Pedley, said she dislikes the cameras but called them "a necessary evil."
"There are an awful lot of people driving around not following the rules," Berghamer said.
Moreno Valley started its two-year pilot program with Redflex Traffic Systems this year with cameras at two locations, said city traffic engineer Eric Lewis.
Lewis said that from March through August this year, cameras at the corner of Frederick Street and Centerpointe Drive snapped 6,707 violations, with 3,745 resulting in citations.
Lewis said that under the agreement, the city keeps about 40 percent of the $387 cost of the ticket.
Smile. You're on Camera
Under terms of the contract, the pilot program is "revenue neutral," which means that the violation fees cover the cost of operating and maintaining the system, Lewis said.
"If the violations don't cover the cost, then we don't pay them anything," he said.
The city of Riverside has cameras at 18 intersections, said spokesman Austin Carter.
Statistics compiled by the city show that the number of citations has gone down dramatically since the system became operational in December 2006, Carter said.
In January 2007, 5,633 citations were issued. In June 2008, 2,297 citations were sent out, Carter said.
Reach Sandra Stokley at 951-368-9647 or