Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Photo Red Extended For Three More Years

The city council extended the time period for authorizing the use of photo red cameras for another three years. See the Spokesman Review article for details.

Other than data showing a slight increase in accidents last January, the city and police department have not provided any numbers showing the effect on safety which is the stated purpose of the program. Nor is photo red being compared with other measures that could be used to improve safety such as lengthening the time for yellow lights or overlapping red lights for all directions--at least not to the public's knowledge.

From the article:

So far this year, the city has generated more than $600,000 from camera tickets. After expenses were subtracted, the city has made more than $270,000 in profit.

Worried that the cameras would be criticized as a cash cow, the City Council mandated that camera profits be spent only on traffic safety measures. Street officials are working with neighborhood councils to select the first $350,000 worth of projects paid for through cameras.

While designating camera profits for traffic safety measures is laudable, regardless what the money is used for this is still a cash cow.

Also from the article:

But City Council President Joe Shogan said he believes the program likely is making a difference.

“How bad would it have been if we had 14,000 red light runners with impunity not obeying the law?” he said.

The lack of evidence apparently has no effect on believers like Joe Shogan. What Mr Shogan doesn't get is that those drivers are still disobeying the law with impunity. They're just paying a fee for doing so.

And that is what is making a difference.

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