Committee Member Says Cameras Should Come Down - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/11/08

Committee Member Says Cameras Should Come Down

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NewsChannel 11 is finding out what you think Lubbock City Council's next step should be, after learning red light cameras put the city in the red.

Thursday, a six month review of the cameras showed a deficit of $18,000. On top of that, the report also showed more crashes at intersections with the cameras.

Council is asking two citizen traffic committees to review that report next week, but before council hears from them, we wanted to hear from you.

"I think after everybody gets used to them, they'll just start stopping at the stop light and do like they're supposed to do and they'll work," one resident said.  

"I don't know if it's helping anything.  The people at City Hall thought that this would help bring in more revenue to the city. It's just costing more," another resident said. 

"We wouldn't have red light cameras if people would just pay attention to what they're doing. It's more on human negligence than it is anything else," suggested another. 

"I don't think they should have ever happened. I wish they'd get red of them today," a fourth resident said. 

NewsChannel 11 also caught up with someone who has an even larger say in what happens with these cameras.  We spoke with David Spears Friday afternoon.  He's on the Citizen's Photographic Traffic Signal Enforcement Committee.

They're meeting next week, and their recommendations will play a large role in council's next step, deciding whether or not cameras will come down.

"I was appointed by the Mayor; to his credit, he knew I was a skeptic of the red light cameras, and he appointed me to be objective and to have, not just a rubber stamp guy on there," Spears said. 

He's one of seven Lubbock citizens appointed to the Citizens Photographic Traffic Signal Enforcement Committee.  The state required Lubbock to create this committee after installing red light cameras.

On Tuesday, they'll review the latest report, that does not shine a favorable light on photo enforcement.

"We've been told that we're supposed to evaluate the results, the six month results of the red light cameras, and then we're going to make a recommendation to the City Council as to whether or not we think they should continue using the red light cameras or take steps to remove them," Spears said. 

He says the only reason to have cameras should be to improve safety.

"Anything to reduce traffic accidents, who can argue with that, but it's pretty clear that after six months it has not improved safety, and it's actually been harmful to safety, and then you add on the fact that it's not making money; so it's pretty clear to me that the things ought to be removed," Spears said. 

"Do you see a reason for them to stay up at all," NewsChannel 11 asked. 

"The only reason I would say we should keep them is if we're contractually obligated to do that, but if we're not, I think it's in the best interests of the citizens of Lubbock to remove them," Spears said. 

The City's agreement with American Traffic Solutions, who runs the cameras, does have ways to get out of the contract without penalty.

Mayor Miller told NewsChannel 11 Thursday that if the cameras aren't working like the city hoped, they need to listen to the Citizen Committees and consider removal of the cameras.

Again, the committees will meet Tuesday.  We'll keep folks updated.

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