Raleigh's red-light cameras could go black by October
Posted September 20, 2011
Updated September 21, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh won't be renewing its contract to operate red-light cameras at 15 city intersections.
In a 4-3 vote Tuesday, the City Council came up short of the five votes needed to extend a contract with ACS Xerox for the Safelight Program, which started in 2003 to cut down on wrecks caused by people running red lights where right-angle collisions are most common.
City Manager Russell Allen said a council member could ask to bring up the contract again, but for now, the contract will expire Sept. 30, and the cameras will be turned off and removed.
Council members Mary Ann Baldwin, Nancy McFarlane and Thomas Crowder all said they will work to save the program, but aren't sure they'll be able to do that before the contract expires.
In October 2008, the city voted to renew its 2005 contract with the company for another three years after city leaders said studies show that red-light cameras are effective in reducing crashes at the intersections where they were installed.
A February study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, however, compared crash data from 1992 to 1996, before the cameras were in place, with data from 2004 to 2008, and found that Raleigh actually saw an increase in wrecks at camera-patrolled intersections.
During those four-year periods, fatal crashes jumped from three to nine, the study contends.
Mike Kennon with the Raleigh Public Works Department disputes the numbers in the study. He said his office couldn't find nine fatalities at red light intersections.
SafeLight operates the cameras at no cost to the city, and the $50 fines from citations benefit Wake County Public School System.
The city intersections with red-light cameras are:
- Dawson Street at Morgan Street
- McDowell Street at Morgan Street
- Dawson Street at South Street
- Hillsborough Street at Dixie Trail
- Avent Ferry Road at Varsity Drive
- New Bern Avenue at Tarboro Road
- Peace Street at West Street
- Wilmington Street at Chapanoke Road
- Six Forks Road at Dartmouth Street
- Six Forks Road at Rowan Street
- New Bern Avenue at Interstate 440 eastbound
- New Bern Avenue at Interstate 440 westbound
- Capital Boulevard at Highwoods Boulevard
- Capital Boulevard at New Hope Church Road
- New Hope Church Road at Brentwood Road
Pat Postal recently got his picture taken at the intersection of Hillsborough Street and Dixie Trail.
“When I came out of work, kind of last minute, I saw the light just turn yellow, so I tried to make it through,” he said. “(I) probably should have stopped, but when I crossed through I noticed that the light flashed in my rearview mirror. I didn’t even know they (the cameras) were there until then.”
Postal said the cameras aren’t stopping anyone from running red lights.
“It doesn’t stop anybody. You still see people burning through the red light,” he said.