March 20, 2014
The contract between the City and Redflex ends on March 28, so it's likely the council agenda for March 24 will include a staff recommendation to add another five years of red light cameras.
Here are some reasons not to do that.
First, the cameras haven't reduced the number of violations to any significant extent over the years - in fact, the current trend is upward: Ticketing in 2013 was 11% higher than in 2012, per data at http://www.highwayrobbery.net. That dismal result is not just in Culver City; the lack of effectiveness of cameras has been noted by the authorities in many other California cities, and over half of the camera systems in California have now been removed. Inglewood shut their cameras down last month.
Next, about visitors. Last month the City of Commerce revealed that 98.5% of its tickets go to visitors. Culver City has had cameras longer than Commerce, so it is likely that the majority of Culver City's camera tickets are going to visitors.
That raises one obvious question: How is the heavy ticketing of visitors (up to 20,000 annually, worth $12 million in fines) affecting business in town? And, a couple not-so-obvious questions. (1) Will the City employ engineering measures - longer yellows, more and larger signal heads, brighter street lighting, better pavement markings - to make it less likely that visitors will miss the lights? (2) Absent engineering measures, how much will the continuing high level of violations - mostly by visitors - endanger local residents who use the same intersections the visitors are blowing through?
Then there is Redflex. They are named in a $2 million bribery in Chicago, and there is a claim of bribery in 13 other states, including California. (No specific California cities have been named as of yet.) Further, they are named in Prevailing Wage actions in several California cities.
It is time to reconsider.