Red light photo tickets likely to survive despite stop line issue, critic says
Red-light cameras at Denver intersections are widely reviled and provide dubious safety benefits according to a report from Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher. Yet in a first vote last night, Denver City Council voted 10-2 to retain the program throughout 2012. Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz isn't pleased by the outcome, which makes sense, since she's one of the "no" votes -- but she doubts the council will reverse itself in the future.
36th & Quebec.
"I'd bet on it continuing," she says, noting that she was only joined by Councilwoman Susan Shepherd in opposing the measure.
In the beginning, Faatz admits that "I was very enthusiastic about the program, because they" -- ACS State and Local Solutions Inc., which has a $700,000 contract with the city to run photo ticketing -- "sold it as a way to check people who are running red lights. And that's certainly something I want to do. But in this case, they're also giving tickets to people who are simply stopping on the line, and that's a problem for me."
As noted by the Denver Post, drivers whose wheels wind up on the white stop line at one of four intersections outfitted with photo tickets in Denver are given a $75 fine -- the same amount as if they'd actually been caught running the light. Moreover, a technical improvement launched in April caused the number of tickets, and the attendant revenue, to skyrocket from $230,000 in fines between January and April to $1.3 million from May to October -- and Faatz's been told that 60 percent of the violations are of the white-line variety.
Faatz doesn't have a problem with people being cited for moving onto the white line, but only if an on-site cop would make the same judgement. "I don't believe an officer in the vicinity would give the ticket in some of these cases, where there are no pedestrians and no safety hazards present in the crosswalk at all -- no bicyclists, no children, no dogs. And yet some people have been given tickets in those cases. Some of my constituents have shown me the photos."
Page down for an example, and the rest of the story.