Red Light Cameras Proving To Be Safe, Profitable For San Diego



City officials say red light photo enforcement will remain in San Diego for the foreseeable future after proving to be profitable and useful for road safety.


San Diego City Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who heads up the subcommittee reviewing the red light camera program, said she was pleased at both the safety and profitability statistics.

"We had a 50 percent reduction in red light-related accidents and an 11 percent reduction in rear-end collisions," said Emerald.

The 15 locations around San Diego have yielded 15,000 citations per year -- meaning extra money for the city coffers. The profit during fiscal year 2011 was $213,000.

City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, however, has two concerns: legal and financial stability. She wonders if that profit may be erased if someone successfully sues the city.

Attorney Mitchell Mehdy, who calls himself "Mr. Ticket," worries about greed.

"Once the city gets a taste of $200,000, they're going to want $400,000 next year and $600,000 the year after. They should decrease the price of these citations. The minimum mandatory fine is $480. The minimum traffic school fee $532. Knock a hundred bucks off or two hundred bucks off," said Mehdy.

Bicyclist Allyson Long, who often crosses the intersection of North Harbor Drive at Grape Street, told 10News, "They're in place for a reason. Safety is very important and people take that for granted until it's too late."

"You cross here. Have you had any close calls?" asked 10News reporter Steve Fiorina.

"Of course; people don't take into account pedestrians and go really fast," said Long.

The red light program is about to enter the last year of a five-year contract. A review is under way, and Emerald said she'd like to do a survey to determine if other intersections should add the cameras.

Red light cameras are set up at the following streets (listing as of Oct. 2011):

A Street/10th Avenue

Garnet Avenue/Mission Bay Drive

Grape Street/ N. Harbor Drive

Aero Drive/Murphy Canyon Road

Del Mar Heights Road/El Camino Real

Mira Mesa Boulevard/Scranton Road

Camino Del Rio North/Mission Center Road

10th Avenue/F Street

Clairemont Mesa Boulevard/Convoy Street

Balboa Avenue/Kearny Villa Road

Camino Del Rio North/Qualcomm Way

Cleveland Avenue/Washington Street

Mira Mesa Boulevard/Westview Parkway

Nimitz Boulevard/Rosecrans Street

Genesee Avenue/N. Torrey Pines Road


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