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City Council Decommissions Two Red Light Cameras

Police say the two cameras are costly and do not appear to make the intersection safer.

 

has voted to decommission two red light cameras at Rt. 97 and Rt. 140 due to traffic accident data and costs.

There will be one red light camera remaining in operation at the intersection of Rt. 97 and Nursery Road (turning off of Rt. 97 into the Pet Smart shopping center lot) following Monday night's vote.

Tell us in comments: Do you think red light cameras are a good idea?

In March 2010 the initiated the Automated Enforcement Program (AEP), placing five cameras at two Westminster intersections.

According to a report, the two cameras monitoring the turning lanes from Rt. 140 onto Rt. 97 were decommissioned after the first year because of low violation rates.

Westminster Police Chief Jeffrey Spaulding told council members that the remaining cameras monitoring the through lanes on Rt. 140 at Rt. 97 have seen fewer violations in the last year.

While the total number of crashes has increased over the last four years (two years without the cameras, the last two years with the cameras), Spaulding said the volume of more serious crashes has decreased marginally since the implementation of the cameras.

The rate of minor crashes that do not require a police investigation has increased from one in 2009 to six in 2011 at the Rt. 140/Rt. 97 intersection, according to the report.

Spaulding added that all of the investigated crashes since the implementation of the red light camera can be attributed to failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision, or rear-end collisions.

In addition to not making the intersection significantly safer, Spaulding said the cost to operate the two cameras is more than the amount being charged in fines.

The total cost to operate all three red light cameras was $137,831 from March 2011 to March 2012. The revenue in the same time period was $216,553 for a net revenue of $78,722. Spaulding pointed out that the net revenue is a result of the 2,460 violations at the Rt. 97/Nursery Road intersection and not the combined 646 violations at the other two red light camera locations.

"We always envisioned this to be violater-funded traffic program," Spaulding said. "At minimum we expected to break even so it wouldn’t cost taxpayer money to run the program."

Council member Dennis Frazier suggested decommissioning all three of the currently operating red light cameras.

Spaulding responded that data shows the rate of serious accidents has significantly decreased since implementing the red light camera at the intersection of Rt. 97 and Nursery Road. Additionally, that camera continues to issue enough violations that it covers the cost to operate the camera.

Council member Tony Chiavacci said that if the red light camera is providing a safety benefit, then he would like to see it remain in operation. He said the council should review data again in a year for the Rt. 97/Nursery Road intersection.

"If I recall, the whole point of this was to put itself out of business," Chiavacci said of the red light camera program.

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SOUTHWESTMINSTER July 10, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Not quite the cash cow they thought it would be.
Native July 11, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Excellent! Big Brother gets squashed! And, the truth finally comes out by a government official. Red light cameras cause accidents & it's really all about the money. Kudos to Westminster!
Sean Colin July 12, 2012 at 03:35 AM
So they are keeping the one that still makes money, even though accidents are up?? If there were 2460 violations at 97 and Nursery, shouldn't there have been 2460 accidents?
RJ Teich July 12, 2012 at 10:20 AM
I appreciate them giving these nuisance intrusion cameras to drivers) a thought and removing some of them. They weren't providing revenue? How about getting one of these in the mail and it WASN'T EVEN YOUR OWN CAR?! This happened to me, and this born and bred Marylander now wants to move out of Maryland, because I was accused of a crime (speeding in a work zone) I didn't commit (they DO NOT even review the pictures!!!!!!!!!!! They just assume falsely!!!!!!!!!!)! I am now VERY MUCH ashamed to say I was born in and live in Maryland because of cameras on Maryland roadways.

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