Newark eyes cameras at stoplights
City Council also to consider what capital projects to fund during next fiscal year

NEWARK Red-light cameras may be going up at 10 locations throughout Newark, including the Mowry Avenue/Cedar Boulevard intersection and the Cherry Street/Mowry Avenue intersection.

Cars zooming through other intersections may be videotaped as well to determine if cameras should be installed there, too.

Plans have not been finalized, but City Council members will vote Thursday whether to contract with Redflex Traffic Systems for the camera services.

The proposed contract would have the city paying no more than $6,000 per camera per month to Redflex, and never more than the actual amount collected from red-light violators.

Newark police investigated 27 vehicle collisions caused by red-light violations in 2004, according to a city staff report to council members. Injuries were reported in 10 of those incidents.

In 2003, the state Department of Transportation reported that red-light violations had decreased by as much as 60 percent at intersections with cameras, according to the report.

If the city implements the program, all three jurisdictions in the Tri-City area will have red-light cameras in operation.

Council members Thursday also will weigh in for the first time on what capital improvement projects the city should fund next fiscal year.

Among the list of projects that city staff is recommending is the expansion of the senior center.

City staff members have proposed that the existing building


be expanded by more than 50 percent, to 6,800 square feet, and that the parking lot be expanded to fit 44 vehicles 20 more than the current capacity.

Because the city cannot afford the $6.8 million needed to build a new senior center, the city staff is recommending expanding the existing building, at a cost of $304,000.

"Sometimes you have to wait a long time for your dream building," assistant city engineer Peggy Claassen said.

"There is interest in providing immediate relief, but not to give up hope on a future senior center."

Despite some residents' desires for a dog park, it is not among the list of recommended projects.

City employees will use input from council members and the public, gathered at Thursday's meeting, to finalize the list of projects for the next two years. The list, which will become part of the city's biennial budget, likely will be adopted in June.