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Pilot program vs. red-light runners mulled

Louie Villalobos
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 10, 2006 12:00 AM

GLENDALE - The City Council has asked city staff to find out how much it would cost to have red-light cameras installed in at least one Glendale intersection.

The goal is to find out whether it's worth instituting a large-scale camera program to help reduce red-light running in the city. Council members said they want to know how much it would cost to establish the program and what problems other Valley cities have faced with the cameras.

Councilman Manny Martinez, who supports the program, said the city owes residents the safest traffic lights possible. The cost of the camera program should not be a deterrent, he said.

"I don't think we're wasting money," Martinez said. "We're making an investment in safety."

Several other Valley cities have a camera program or are creating a pilot program. Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe all have red-light photo enforcement, according to Glendale. Avondale is testing a pilot program at two intersections.

It's unclear when the program would start in Glendale. Jamsheed Mehta, the transportation director, said the city will start taking proposals from camera companies, then go back to the council during this year's budget process, which begins in March. Council members will then decide if they want to conduct the pilot program.

Mehta said the pilot program would last about two years, if approved, to allow the city to gather enough data before going full time.