5/13/2020Encinitas, California Red Light Cameras Go Dark
Red light camera use ends after Encinitas, California city council votes to terminate deal with Redflex.
Red light cameras will go dark in Encinitas, California later today. After a 3 to 2 city council vote last week, the San Diego County beach town decided to join the more than sixty California jurisdictions that have terminated their experiment with the use of red light cameras. Encinitas officials faced the prospect of new guidelines requiring longer yellow times for turn movements that would turn the program from a money-winner to a money-loser, allowing the council's camera opponents to win the day.
"This red light camera is not helping us in any way," Councilman Joe Mosca explained. "Especially during this Covid time when people are unemployed to get a $500 ticket is just ridiculous."
Safer Streets LA executive director Jay Beeber pointed out that new Institute of Transportation Engineer rules will require an extra two seconds of yellow times at the city's left-turn intersections. Those turns just happen to be the city's biggest moneymaker, accounting for more than half of all citations.
"These $490 tickets are a huge financial burden on citizens for a relatively minor infraction and engender unnecessary animosity and disrespect for elected officials and law enforcement," Beeber explained in a report delivered to council members.
The Safer Streets LA report also noted that there were barely any red light related collisions before the cameras were installed, and the number of accidents did not change after the devices were installed.
City staff defended the deal with Redflex Traffic Systems, insisting that the numerous felony convictions against the Australian firm's top US-based executives were "unrepresentative of what Redflex's employees stand for."
The vast majority of cities that have experimented with red light cameras in the Golden State have since decided to drop them. The list includes Belmont, Bell Gardens, Berkeley, Burlingame, Cerritos, Compton, Corona, Costa Mesa, Cupertino, El Cajon, Davis, El Monte, Escondido, Emeryville, Fairfield, Fresno, Fullerton, Gardena, Glendale, Grand Terrace, Hayward, Highland, Indian Wells, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Lancaster, Loma Linda, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Marysville, Maywood, Menlo Park Montclair, Moreno Valley, Napa, Oakland, Paramount, Pasadena, Poway, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Redwood City, Rocklin, Roseville, Rowland Heights, San Bernardino, San Carlos, San Diego, San Jose (photo radar), San Juan Capistrano, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Maria, San Mateo, Santa Rosa, South Gate, Stockton, Union City, Upland, Vista, Walnut, Whittier, Yuba City and Yucaipa. The city councils of Laguna Niguel and Orange passed ordinances banning cameras in 2011. Residents of Anaheim, Murrieta and Newport Beach voted to ban red light cameras at the ballot box.