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Upcoming meetings on camera-based traffic enforcement

Two public meetings are coming up on the topic of camera-based traffic enforcement.

The first is this Thursday, May 15, 2008 — a “Citizen’s Red Light Camera Informational Meeting” sponsored by the “Tennessee Liberty Alliance” (additional website), at 7 pm, at the Midtown Community Center (Wildcat Den) on the corner of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Robertsville Road. The Liberty Alliance is opposed to camera enforcement, and two local residents will present their arguments. Dr. Dale Gedcke (author of an opinion column on the subject in Sunday’s News Sentinel) will present technical arguments against the use of cameras and Ron Brown (who has sued the city regarding speed limits) will speak on legal arguments. Others will be given a chance to speak. Sponsors say they endorse “other methods to achieve this goal of safety more effectively, while at the same time, protecting the citizen’s rights guaranteed by our Constitution of the United States.”

The second is the Oak Ridge City Council work session on Monday, June 2, 2008, at 6:30 pm, at the Municipal Service Center on Woodbury Lane. Contrary to what some news media have reported, the Council has not yet given final approval to an camera-based enforcement program, but has enacted an ordinance that would authorize the use of this type of enforcement. At this meeting, I hope we will learn about the safety data the Police Dept. has collected on the subject and the proposals that have been received for a potential contract.

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11 Comments

  1. Ray Kircher says:

    It was great seeing two of our Council Members expressing their questions to this group. It was something we do not often see or haven’t seen in this city council for a while. Thank you for sincerely expressing your concerns of safety. I do understand the council’s investigation of these cameras for safety, but whatever comes of this; I do hope this council continues to strive to make our community a safer community.

    Two questions I didn’t get to ask, at any time during the camera contract will the cost of the cameras put our police department in a dilemma to man a courtroom seat for a camera violation over putting the officer in a patrol car and on a beat? Does the city portion of the fine cover costs for serving warrants to vehicle owners who do not pay the ticket?

    This WATE news report does shed some light on a continuing problem of enforcing the law upon people who never cared about the law.

    http://www.wate.com/global/story.asp?s=8333421

    James O’Connor did note our city judge doesn’t have a problem with violators paying their fines, but he never stated how many today are not paying their fines. I believe these cameras would only increase this statistic and never teach these people we care about our citizens.

  2. Ray Kircher says:

    Going over some old newspaper stories and accidents listed in the public register, the intersections are not our main problem. I do want Oak Ridge to be safer, but not only at the intersections. We have many other streets that see far more crime of ALL TYPES. I do believe these cameras are moneymakers and the fact some of our citizens do not care about all of the streets in Oak Ridge is scary by having nothing created in the ordinance to earmark the money for our safety.

    You stated a point of yours that many have yet to catch on to it. I do hope to hear more about your comment at the up-coming meetings of these cameras not living up to the financial request needed to enforce the ordinance. That is very interesting since these cameras have historically shown that issue to come at the end of the contract and not at the beginning. Could this ordinance leave our city with less money for law-enforcement of all crimes in Oak Ridge from the very start?

  3. CrackerNation says:

    Ray, you failed to show the results of your study of accidents. If intersections, and other places of turning lanes, are not major locations for accidents, I would be surprised. I would think that having more officers to respond to other crime than traffic offenses would improve those services as well.

    As Ellen has said, the cameras are not about money, they are about safety.

  4. Ray Kircher says:

    Cracker, you haven’t provided the data that we need them.

    If you look at the total of accidents, this nation is seeing more. Why is that? All records I have researched have shown that driver inattention while driving anywhere has it hands down, leaving out drug and alcohol related. That is corrected by the driver being charged with points against their driving record. They do change or lose you license. Now if you pull out your statistics and show me that just running a red light is the only contributing factor to an accident, I will change my course.

    For now, drugs and alcohol, poor driver attention, cell phones, speeding, and rage have the largest involvement for accidents everywhere. These cameras do not show how drunk or how busy, or how mad the driver was before they ran the red light. Real safety comes from an officer that can investigate why the driver ran the red light. We really need a NO CELL PHONE USE WHILE DRIVING before we install cameras.

    The right to appeal is there for anyone charged with any driving violation, but cameras allow the real reason as why a car ran the red light to continue in our community, everywhere.

    Ellen, will these cameras involve a reduction in the Governor’s Road Safety Grants for our city in favor of cities who do not have cameras?

  5. Ray Kircher says:

    Oh I forgot weather, that is up there with being the largest reason as to why so many people feel the roads are unsafe.

    As for the cameras, we could drop electronic use of vehicle control and revert to signs and directional lanes for people to follow. The cameras will decide if someone made a driver violation.

  6. CrackerNation says:

    Huh?

    All I asked was what was the result of your study? Do more accidents occur when cars intersect (which is where intersections come from) or were they single car accidents?

  7. Ray Kircher says:

    Why the games Cracker? Where is your study that 10 intersections in Oak Ridge have accidents that are caused by red light runners only, not weather, pursuit, inattentive driver related? Those few accidents you haven’t shown are caused by other attributes besides someone running a red light on purpose.

    These cameras DO NOT make drivers stop the rain, fog, and/or snow; slow down speeding cars; and/or get off the cell phone.

    I understand your bias for revenue and NOT safety, but why put on your Cracker Suit and parade around town that cameras will make Oak Ridge safe?

    As usual, your name says it all. It has the overtones of secularism and implies some citizens are not worthy of safer streets in all issues. Read the Council member Beehan’s top 5 questions to himself and understand that safety discussion needs to reach beyond intersections and make Oak Ridge safe, not just 10 halfway studied intersections.

    And your issue that Ashley’s accident is the reason to look at safety is off course. These cameras will not change the Yield-Sign right hand turn. Oak Ridge has built intersections that do not protect pedestrians.

    Try this on your Cracker and east it, how will cameras STOP what happened to Ashley?

    Get back to me when you have the accident reports and can logically talk about it.

  8. Timothy says:

    I agree with Ray – show us the data on what is the cause of accidents in Oak Ridge and where they occur. This is the computer age, I am sure that with a push of a few buttons, the Police Department can tell us how many drivers were ticketed for running red lights and causeing an accident at an intersection. If they cannot answer such a simple question, they are either hiding the data that will shoot down their argument for automated enforcment or they are just incompetent.

  9. Ray Kircher says:

    Thanks Timothy for the support, I will do my best to be at ALL of the RLC meetings to LOOK FOR WHY WE NEED RLCs.

  10. CrackerNation says:

    Ray said: “Going over some old newspaper stories and accidents listed in the public register, the intersections are not our main problem.”

    All I asked for was the data that he found.

    Last night the city gave us some insight into their choices for the intersections to be monitored and some numbers on accidents, injuries and deaths. The data is incomplete but the technology should be able to increase respect for our traffic laws and thereby increase public safety.

    I hope that we will also make adjustments to our signal system to improve safety and compliance. I think we should:
    1. Increase the yellow duration
    2. Add a short red both ways to the cycle
    3. Synchronize the lights so that traffic can flow unabated by traffic lights at or a little below the speed limit
    4. Make all the statistics publicly available from the red light camera system

    We should not be trying to trap people and we should be able to see the progress. This is about public safety, after all.

  11. Ray Kircher says:

    I don‘t have to jump to your beat. It is not as thorough and insightful as someone who can stand behind a face. What did William Pappas call all the Crackers of the world, “cowards?”

    I recognize the danger of driving, my record is clean. I do not take for granted the safety already installed in car, and I do not let my guard down because Cracker Nation says our roads our safe. She isn’t the problem, nor is the lack of data coming from our elected officials. It is poor drivers that makes roads unsafe, and RLC companies are not turning over the infractions to insurance companies to correct that.

    The data I’m waiting for is a Lawyer to take on our city lawyer for the city selling to the public our intersections are now safe.

    Still, what is our city going to do to prevent what happened to Ashley? That was the public’s question Cracker, and this is all O’Connor can come up with? No Target and No Safety Plan for pedestrians what else will this city manager fail at for what the public wants? He has the poorest rating yet. I cannot help to notice the downhill ratings our schools and city appearance has accumulated. The only point saving this place is the AA rating by loan institutions which O’Connor almost messed that up with the Crestpoint fiasco.

    We need real safety, and that comes from building a jail to keep many of our own problems locked up for the weekend.

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