BY ALICIA ROBINSON
Published: 06 July 2012 12:09 PM
Riverside’s red light camera program, which appears to have lost about $1.72 million over the past six years, could be scrapped on Tuesday, July 10.
The city first signed a contract with Redflex Traffic Systems in 2006, and officials agreed to a five-year extension in November 2011. There are now 30 cameras at 21 intersections around the city.
City officials say their statistics show a 45 percent decrease in accidents at intersections with cameras and almost as big a reduction citywide, which they attribute to a “spillover” effect of drivers being more cautious.
But the camera program’s ongoing financial losses are expected to get worse after Caltrans refused to renew permits for cameras at three intersections under its control.
Those five cameras, which are adjacent to Highway 91 on Tyler Street, Arlington Avenue and 14th Street, have produced more citations than all the remaining cameras for each of the past two years, city statistics show.
Faced with a projected loss of $611,000 in fiscal 2012-13, Public Works Director Tom Boyd recommended axing the camera program. In June, the council’s public safety committee agreed. Redflex offered a one-time credit of $300,000, but a report from Boyd noted the program likely would to continue to run a sizeable deficit.
Councilman Chris Mac Arthur, who voted against renewing the contract last fall, said Friday, July 6, that he hasn’t seen convincing evidence that the cameras increase safety. He added that city statistics show the number of crashes on Tyler Street has increased since cameras were installed in 2009.
“We’ve gotten hundreds of phone calls from my constituents against the red light cameras,” Mac Arthur said.
With the tickets costing hundreds of dollars that might have been spent elsewhere, he said, “I would think that it has a dramatic effect on our local economy.”
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