[tabi] Re: traffic light cameras in tally

  • From: "Allison and Chip Orange" <acorange@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2011 15:50:50 -0400

What a great thing; where else can government get an improvement in safety
at the same time as not only not having to pay for it, but actually making
up some of the revenue denied them by the legislature, who forbad local
counties from receiving tax revenues above the 2001 amounts received.
Of course it's not good if they never corrected mistakes, but it looks like
they're quite willing to give people the benefit of the doubt and correct
mistakes.  I'd sure like to see more, especially those related to right
turns on red.
I can sit here and think of two people who died because of someone running a
red-light (and one of them Mr.. Megs refused to even charge the driver when
the 13-year-old girl was killed!).  Given this, these cameras and their
related tickets seem to be our only way of preventing this from happening
more often.


From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Easy Talk
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2011 8:43 AM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] traffic light cameras in tally

Thought some of you might find this interesting.
Sun, Jul 31, 2011  |  Updated: 8:24 AM
17,001 red-light camera citations issued in Tallahassee
By TaMaryn Waters Democrat Staff Writer
July 31, 2011
A year after Tallahassee began enforcing red-light traffic violations with
it's got six intersections covered by 17 cameras and has issued 17,001
camera citations through Friday.
The first camera went live a year ago today at Monroe and Tennessee streets.
flashes from red-light cameras also have snapped government vehicles
including several
StarMetro buses, city work vehicles and Leon County Superintendent Jackie
Pons in
a district vehicle.
Despite growing controversy regarding the cameras statewide, Tallahassee
say they help make roads safer.
They have not been welcomed by all residents.
According to the Leon County Clerk's Office, there were 148 motion hearings
to contest
citations in court.
George Youmas, 37, a truck driver with Crowder Construction, said a $158
for his vehicle was mailed to a wrong address and the 30-day period to pay
for it
expired. That put his commercial-driver license in jeopardy. He was granted
a 60-day
extension to pay it at a hearing Wednesday.
Youmas said he wasn't driving the vehicle -- a legal difficulty with the
issued to the registered owner of vehicles caught on cameras -- but Youmas
said he'd
devoted too much time already tending to the issue and will pay it.
"It's ridiculous," he said once the brief hearing was over. "It's totally
The city has generated $878,022 since mid July from the citations. That's
just the
city's share, though, in a split that includes the state and the contractor
to manage the system. The state got $875,318 through July 14 and the city's
vendor, ACS State and Local Solutions, got $436,928.
Michelle Bono, assistant to the city manager, said the cameras have helped
driving behavior for the better.
"A lot of people would see yellow and sometimes yellow meant speed up to get
the intersection," Bono said. "I think a lot of people, including myself,
see yellow
and say slow down . . . . So why not just be a safer driver?"
Camera images from three approaches at Monroe and Tennessee streets have
5,009 citations since mid-July -- the most of the six intersections.
The cameras at Capital Circle Northwest and Tennessee Street have sparked
among drivers.
Many drivers stop at the no-turn-on-red westbound lane of Tennessee in
to turning north onto Capital Circle. But they didn't stay behind the stop
bar marked
on the street. Moving beyond the stop bar at the edge of Capital Circle
a citation.
Despite signs indicating no-turn-on-red and another one regarding the stop
bar, the
westbound approach had 700 citations in June, the most for any single
approach in
one month since the program began.
"It appears motorists who are going through there are treating it as a yield
said Allen Secreast, traffic mobility manager for the city.
He said the Florida Department of Transportation prohibited right turns on
red lights
at the approach because of the high volume of traffic going through the
including trucks.
Officials noticed the intersection's high numbers when 147 citations in
jumped to 659 in January. The city soon ran a public campaign to make
drivers more
aware of the stop bar. However, Bono said she couldn't explain June's
Greg Womble, 61, got a citation at the intersection in February. He rolled
past the
stop bar.
"I don't really have a problem with the red-light camera program in general.
I had a problem with was with my particular case and with the design of the
he said. "I got caught in no-man's land."
Some residents are taking their chances in court.
Of the 148 motion hearings, 81 were granted and 21 were denied. The rest are
The state has generated an estimated $19 million from more than 40
according to the Florida Department of Revenue.
But some cities are rethinking the cameras. Davie officials cited legal
and costs of running the program as reasons to reconsider, according to
Red-light cameras are not leaving Tallahassee any time soon. The city is
additional camera placements based on crash statistics.
While residents were caught by red-light cameras, so were vehicles owned by
the city,
Leon County and Leon County Schools.
Specific Leon County vehicle red-light citations were not available. But the
had 16 citations between Aug. 1, 2010, and July 15. Most were StarMetro
buses and
Dial-A-Ride vans. When a citation occurs, the city pays for it first and the
who committed the violation must reimburse the city.
StarMetro Executive Director Ron Garrison said he was surprised 10 of the
citations were made by his employees but he said the volume of bus operation
in the
city should be considered, too.
He said he would remind his staff to obey traffic signals and about the
"It is a safety thing," he said.
Leon County Schools vehicles had three citations, one of which was issued to
Jackie Pons.
Pons was issued a citation at Capital Circle Northwest and Tennessee Street
and says
he didn't run a red light. However, like many violators at that
intersection, he
stopped his district vehicle beyond the stop bar.
"I didn't realize I had a violation until we got contacted," said Pons, who
the citation and didn't make a fuss. "They got me for passing the point."

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