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traffic cameras

Consideration of red-light camera contract delayed to August

If you were hoping the red-light camera issue would be resolved soon (one way or the other) so that other public concerns could get attention, you will need to wait another month. City staff does not have a proposed contract ready for City Council consideration this month, so the next vote on the subject is now expected to happen at the August 18, 2008, City Council meeting.

UPDATE: The vote is in. City Council voted 4 to 3 to authorize a contract with RedFlex. In favor of the camera contract were Mayor Tom Beehan, Mayor Pro-Tem Jane Miller, Tom Hayes, and Charlie Hensley. Opposed were Willie Golden, Dave Mosby, and Ellen Smith (that’s me).

The contract will be for 5 years (with optional renewal periods) and it authorizes up to 15 camera installations for speed and/or red-light enforcement. There will be signs to inform motorists that photo enforcement is in use, and at each location there will be a 30-day “warning” period during which violators will get warning tickets (but no fines).Staff wants to start slow with 3 camera locations targeting school zones.

It goes without saying that his was not an easy decision, and the community expressed strong passions on both sides of the issue.


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.