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Cardenas, Parks Want Red Light Cameras to Remain

11:07 AM PDT on June 16, 2011

A new motion introduced by Councilmen Tony Cardenas and Bernard Parks seeks to overturn the recent decision of the Police Commission to end the city's wildly effective red light traffic camera program.  Their motion is scheduled to be heard at tomorrow morning's City Council hearing.  The Councilmen claim that they can force the Police Commission to change their ruling, while the Commission claims the Council has no such authority.  It was previously reported that a 2/3 vote of the Council, a full 10 votes, would be needed to over turn the Commission.

Cardenas has been making the rounds in the media reminding people that despite all the "ding-dong the witch is dead" partying, LAPD's studies of the intersections with red light cameras showed a 62% decline in traffic crashes.  Regardless of any concerns about the politics of the intersection selection or money the city is losing, that is an outstanding record.

Even with two Councilmen on Board, it would still be a political upset if the cameras are maintained.  The Times implied that Parks and Cardenas are pawns of American Traffic Solutions, the company that maintains and profits from the cameras.  Meanwhile, LA Weekly is lionizing the head of the Orwellianly named Safer Streets L.A. who do deserve credit for a well-run campaign to get the unanimous vote from the Police Commission last week.  Safer Streets L.A. argues that the crash-reduction numbers are inflated and misleading.

Meanwhile the nation-wide Traffic Safety Coalition, a non-profit advocacy group, has jumped into the fray with a two-prong strategy.  First, they're asking Angelenos to sign a petition asking the Council to over-rule the Police Commission.  Some of the signators include leaders with the Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership and L.A. Walks.

TSC is also providing stories on what's happened in other cities when red light cameras are removed, and the result is not "safer streets."   For example, red light running increased by nearly 600% Albuquerque, NM and over 1000% in Scottsdale, AZ.  We'll be live tweeting tomorrow's meeting.  Word on the Street is that the motion will be heard at the start of the meeting.

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