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Saturday, August 25, 2012

CORONA, CA - Officials to pull plug on red-light cameras


 Corona is next in line to pull the plug on red-light cameras after a study session this week failed to gain enough support from city leaders to renew the program.
The issue has stoked the anger of many Inland residents who say the cameras which use pictures and video to nab drivers running red lights cost too much and increase rear-end collisions.
Supporters say the cameras reduce crashes and encourage safer driving. A review by Corona Police Department officials recommended expanding the program to additional intersections.

Today's PollWhat's this?
Do you support red-light cameras?
 Yes, I believe red-light cameras improve safety at intersections and are a fair way to issue citations.  No, red-light cameras are an unfair way to cite drivers, they eliminate officer discretion and cause motorists to sometimes stop prematurely.  I don't know.

Corona is part of a growing number of Inland cities that are removing red-light cameras, while others are expanding or keeping theirs.
Moreno Valley and Loma Linda ended their programs recently. Riverside officials are split on the matter, facing a projected $611,000 deficit from their program this fiscal year.
And San Bernardino recently voted to add cameras to three new intersections.
Corona officials were split 3-2 against the program, saying it wasn’t as effective or fair as expected. Council members supporting it said it has reduced collisions and saved lives.
A vote to cancel the contract is expected at the Sept. 5 City Council meeting, the last day to notify program operator Redflex Traffic Systems to cancel the city’s contract. Tickets received before the Nov. 5 expiration date are still valid.
“I’m not sure if it’s the right thing to do,” Councilwoman Karen Spiegel said about renewing the contract or adding cameras. “I’m not seeing that success rate citywide.”
City officials spent more than two hours Wednesday, Aug. 22, poring over red-light camera statistics prepared by the Police Department. Corona has five cameras installed at four intersections.
The program has been running since May 2009.
Statistics showed a 17 percent decrease citywide in collisions at intersections with signals since the program began. But overall collisions citywide during that same period increased 6 percent, while accidents at intersections jumped 12.
Accidents in the city had been on a downward trend from 2006 to 2008, before the cameras were installed, the report showed. Wrecks began increasing in 2010.
Police suggested adding three cameras at additional intersections.
“I’m personally in favor of keeping them and adding them to a few intersections,” Corona Mayor Eugene Montanez said at the meeting.
Councilman Jason Scott supported extending the contract while Councilmen Stan Skipworth and Steve Nolan spoke against it.
“So many things about this program have been deceptive since day one,” Nolan said, a longtime advocate for ending the program.
Citations run nearly $500, money Nolan said residents in a lagging economy could be spending on necessities and in the city to generate tax dollars.
The program has seen a 34 percent drop in revenue and a 15 percent increase in cost since it began. The first year the city made $357,218 in revenue, but that dropped to $54,767 in 2011, the report showed.
Corona’s contract