Panel revisits traffic-camera idea
By Ashley Luthern
City council’s Safety Committee is re-starting the process of installing traffic cameras, almost two years after the topic was first introduced.
Councilman John R. Swierz, D-7th, a safety- committee member, said he is in favor of traffic cameras to catch speeders and people who drive through red lights.
“It’s a great tool for the police since we have limited resources. We’re not looking to make money on it,” Swierz said.
Police Chief Rod Foley said he thinks the camera could be a tool for officers in cases other than traffic violations but that it could “set up a backlash.”
“You’re seeing constituents in other parts of the country vote it down,” he said.
Swierz said the safety committee, which met Monday, has recommended that city council put out a call for proposals from traffic-camera companies. Redflex Traffic Systems of Phoenix, a company that likely would submit a proposal, gave a presentation at the committee meeting.
The original idea was to have the cameras only at school zones but that has changed to include an additional intersection in each ward. Swierz said in his ward, for example, he would favor a camera at Sheridan Road and Midlothian Boulevard.
There would be no start-up cost to the project, and the traffic-camera company would negotiate a percentage of the revenue generated from citations, Swierz said.
Swierz also recommended researching portable speed humps that could be moved to areas prone to speeders. Each speed hump costs about $800, he said. These are smaller than permanent speed bumps.
The committee questioned the legality of the speed humps which, if placed in the wrong location, actually could increase accidents, but Law Director Anthony Farris said the speed humps are legal.
However, Farris also said the council should have a study done of possible locations.
Safety Committee Chairman Nate Pinkard said the cost of a study could be more than the city can afford, but Swierz said city employees should be able to do such a study.