Ellen Smith for Oak Ridge Rotating Header Image

Can’t escape news about traffic cameras

It seems you can’t open a newspaper or turn on a TV without hearing about traffic enforcement cameras. I’m still scratching my head over the news that Knoxville is terminating its contract with RedFlex due to late delivery of the company’s bid on a contract renewal.

Meanwhile, WBIR-TV has a report that the Oak Ridge police and RedFlex are studying intersections and streets before deciding where to install red-light and speed cameras. I’m disappointed, but I’m not surprised — instead of identifying traffic safety problems and seeking the best methods to solve those problems, the city has selected a high-tech solution and is now seeking a problem to apply it to. Now that the majority of my fellow Council members have decided that we will have cameras, we all must hope they will be beneficial for public safety, but I do wish we had a clearer idea what problem we want them to fix.

Update Sept. 29: In response to those of you who have asked, I have no specific news on when cameras will appear on our streets. However, I realize that I failed to document one important piece of news. Earlier this summer, City staff had our signalized intersections evaluated by a traffic engineer to determine whether they had the appropriate yellow-light durations. As a results, most of the intersections that were evaluated had their yellow-light timing adjusted in at least one direction to increase the yellow duration. With or without cameras, I hope this makes it easier for all of us to avoid running through intersections as the lights change from yellow to red.



  1. Ray Kircher says:

    Nobody is saying it better.

  2. Phil says:

    I think cameras would be better deployed in Haw Ridge and Melton Lake to cut down on the number of car break ins.

  3. Ellen Smith says:

    Yes, cameras at Haw Ridge and various greenway entrances would help to address a known problem for which camera surveillance would be a good solution. Too bad that there’s no obvious potential revenue stream associated with that kind of camera — if there were, we can be sure that some vendor would be offering to provide that service to the city!

  4. Karl says:

    I doubt it would hurt to ask about the camera for Haw Ridge, since the technology behind speed/red light cameras would work in this case as well. It would all depend on how flexible the company is, as they would have to provide the data back to the police, and it wouldn’t fit the standard mold of their services. That said, I imagine it wouldn’t take trespassers too long to realize that covering their license plate would circumvent the security.
    Once the fines start coming in, I think it will be interesting to see OR’s reaction.

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