Local News

Proposal Aims To Put Brakes On Chapel Hill Red-Light Cameras

Posted January 13, 2004

— A new proposal may signal an end to red-light cameras in Chapel Hill. Monday night, town councilman Mark Kleinschmidt revved up his campaign to get rid of cameras stationed at two intersections.

Red-light cameras cameras click pictures of license plates on cars that run red lights. The company that runs the cameras then sends the cars' owners a $50 ticket.

Supporters say the cameras are an efficient way to make intersections more safe.

"I like them, I think it prevents a lot more accidents from happening," motorist Drew Ratke said.

Cameras at two Chapel Hill street corners showed 1,100 motorists running red lights during a three-month period. The cameras issued more tickets than police officers have in an entire year, and that is what bothers Kleinschmidt.

"What I have an issue with is the privatization of a police function," he said.

Kleinschmidt is leading the campaign to get rid of the cameras and has the support of Mayor Kevin Foy.

"If we can accomplish safer intersections without these cameras, I think we'd all be better off," Foy said.

Council newcomers Sally Greene and Cam Hill will likely be the swing voters. They replace two camera supporters and have voiced opposition themselves.

Councilman Jim Ward will try to convince his colleagues to hold judgment for another nine months -- that is when independent data will tell the council whether the cameras really do make intersections more safe.

"It's a very emotional issue and people are taking sides based on that. I would like us to have some numbers that can help make a decision that is best for our community," council member Jim Ward said.

Previous Strory

  • January 12, 2004:

    Move Under Way To Remove Red-Light Cameras In Chapel Hill

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