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Red-light cameras: warning periods are ending and real tickets are on the way

According to a press release from the City, the 30-day warning period for the City’s first traffic safety camera has ended. This is the camera that monitors southbound traffic on Illinois Avenue at the intersection of Illinois Avenue and Robertsville Road. It monitors red light and speed violations. Violations “caught” by this camera will now lead to $50 tickets.

A second traffic safety camera at the same location that monitors northbound traffic is in a warning period until June 6, 2009.

The two traffic safety cameras that monitor east- and westbound traffic on Oak Ridge Turnpike at LaFayette Drive, including speeding and red light violations and illegal turns, are still in the warning period. The westbound camera is in a warning period until June 8, 2009, and the eastbound camera’s warning period ends June 18, 2009.

In addition to the two intersections with traffic safety cameras, fixed speed systems are being constructed in Oak Ridge school zones on Robertsville Road at Willowbrook School and on Oak Ridge Turnpike at Oak Ridge High School. Both systems will monitor the speed of passing vehicles 24 hours a day, including school zone times. Neither system is operational yet and each will have a separate thirty-day warning period.

As of May 28, 2009, the City had printed 2,322 notices of violations for the locations with traffic safety cameras. These notices will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle committing the violation. Notices received require no action by the recipient during the warning period.

The red-light cameras only detect a violation if a vehicle crosses the stop bar after the traffic signal turns to red — if you are already in the intersection when the light changes from yellow to red, you are not in violation.

I did vote against the camera contract last year, but as a city official I figure I need to do my part to keep people informed and to ensure that the system operates fairly — and I do hope it contributes to public safety!

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