Signal police pitch traffic cameras to slow speeders
By: Kevin Hardy
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Staff Photo by Angela Lewis A vehicle drives past a speed limit sign on Mississippi Avenue in Signal Mountain.
Signal Mountain officials are getting serious about slowing down speeders.
At its last meeting, the Signal Mountain Town Council heard Police Chief Boyd Veal pitch the idea of buying traffic cameras to help reduce speeding around the town.
Speeders are not just on Taft Highway, the main road running through the center of town, but in all neighborhoods, he said.
"The vast majority of people coming through are speeding," Chief Boyd said.
And a high percentage of those speeders are going at least 11 mph over the speed limit, he said.
Chief Veal said he isn't trying to convince the town council, but is just suggesting ideas to help curb the problem.
"They're the ones that have to make the decision," Chief Veal said.
American Traffic Solutions -- the company that runs Red Bank's traffic camera program -- will give a presentation to the town council Monday.
Signal Mountain Mayor Bill Lusk agreed that speeding is a problem but wants to hear more public opinion on the idea.
"But thus far, public opinion hasn't been favorable," he said.
Signal Mountain resident Dotti Hamilton said she doesn't think speeding is much of a problem on the mountain because most people know to be careful.
"We do have a reputation for enforcing traffic laws," she said.
The Signal Mountain Police Department has no traffic enforcement unit. Instead, officers split time between patrol, answering calls and traffic enforcement, Chief Veal said.
"Our officers do everything," he said.
Most streets within Signal have a speed limit of 25, 30 or 35 mph.
Ms. Hamilton said the speed limits are too low as it is. She said city leaders would only use traffic cameras as a "money grab" to increase revenue.
"Don't you think the city of Chattanooga and the city of Red Bank are just using them as a source of revenue?" Ms. Hamilton said.
But Chief Veal and Mr. Lusk stand by the speed limits.
"I think our speed limits are appropriate, given the makeup of our community, given that we are a residential community and we have children that live on or play near those streets," Chief Veal said.
Chief Veal said he isn't banking on the financial viability of the cameras just yet. He expects the cameras to pay for themselves over time, but isn't sure beyond that.
"Whether they would generate significant revenue -- that remains to be seen," he said.
IF YOU GO
* What: Signal Mountain Town Council
* When: 6:30 p.m. Monday
* Where: Town Hall, 1111 Ridgeway Ave.
* Chattanooga -- Eight fixed speeding cameras, three mobile speed cameras and eight red light cameras.
* Red Bank -- Three traffic cameras along Dayton Boulevard. All three monitor intersection violations and two of the cameras monitor speeding.
* Dalton, Ga. -- Had traffic cameras monitoring intersection violations, but they were removed in March after the state Legislature passed laws regulating traffic cameras, which hurt the program's financial feasibility.