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City council approves renewal of red-light camera contracts with Redflex

Posted: December 22, 2008 8:57 p.m.
Updated: December 23, 2008 4:30 a.m.

The red light camera at the intersection of Soledad Canyon Road and Whites Canyon Road uses infared technology to issue tickets with photographic evidence to traffic violators.

 

Paying a $381 ticket for bolting through a Santa Clarita intersection with a red-light camera might be tough on the wallet, but the pictures have improved public safety.

Collisions involving red-light violations decreased 58 percent since officials installed the cameras in 2003, according to data collected by city workers.

Broadside collisions decreased 44 percent and injury collisions decreased six percent over the same period. Rear-end collisions remained flat, according to the data.

The city began the program in 2003 with five cameras, adding three more upon the initial success of the red light cameras, said Senior Traffic Engineer Gus Pivetti.

Since its inception, thousands of citations were sent to red-light runners at the eight intersections in Santa Clarita that have the cameras.

Officials mailed 5,584 citations in 2006.

In 2007, city officials issued 7,319 notices, Pivetti said.

From Jan. 1 to the end of July, 3,923 citations were sent, he said.

The result has been a stronger message to drivers to stay safe.

"It brings awareness to the public to be more cognizant," said Pearl Navarro, an operations assistant for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

Despite the high number of citations and the decrease in collisions, there are no plans to add more red light cameras, said City Traffic Engineer Andrew Yi.

Up to 20 intersections can be equipped with cameras.

The Santa Clarita City Council approved the renewal of a contract Nov. 9, worth no more than $3.2 million for a five-year period, with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. to provide the equipment.

The city will pay $44,000 monthly, according to the contract.

Under the previous contract with Redflex, the city received $150 from a $381 ticket, Yi said.

Of that, $89 went to Redflex.

Although the city received a small revenue from the tickets, the money funds maintenance, equipment and training costs associated with the cameras, he said.

Little money is left for the city.

"Unfortunately it's expensive, but it works," said city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz.

If a driver crosses the limit line while the signal is red, a beam initiates a series of four separate lights to take photos of the driver and vehicle, Navarro said.

If a driver is in the intersection and the light turns red, it is not a ticket, she said.

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