As state ends photo speed enforcement, local cameras roll on - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

As state ends photo speed enforcement, local cameras roll on

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Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 3:38 pm | Updated: 8:25 pm, Mon Jul 26, 2010.

The speed photo enforcement program that created a stir along the state's highways is sputtering away, along with the memories of those who made the cameras famous.

A Hyundai Sonata was clocked at 147 mph on Scottsdale's portion of the Loop 101 - and its driver found guilty despite certified Hyundai technicians insisting the car would not travel that fast or its tires would have flown apart.

Chandler resident Francesca Cisneros was caught speeding more than 70 times in five months along the 101 that same year - and threw the tickets away because she thought no one would ever come after her. She later spent five days in jail and had to pay $11,000 in fines for the offenses.

There also was Dave VonTesmar, who amassed nearly $7,000 in fines from 37 tickets - while wearing a monkey or giraffe mask.

But as the state prepares to end its photo enforcement program this week, East Valley cities still hope to keep their cameras in place to catch the faces of speeding drivers and red-light runners.

The Arizona Department of Public safety ends its two-year contract with Phoenix-based Redflex Traffic Systems on Thursday, a program the state contracted with to catch speeders. During the first year, there were nearly 5,000 fewer collisions along the state's highways than the previous year, according to Shoba Vaitheeswaran, a Redflex spokeswoman

Redflex generates about $250 million a year in revenue, according to its website, but the state wasn't making nearly that much.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety, which began overseeing the speed photo enforcement program in 2008 and snapped photos of speeders going 11 mph or faster over the speed limit, didn't reach half of its projections of generating $90 million through 76 cameras installed along its highways on posts and vans. More than 700,000 speeders were caught during the time DPS oversaw the program. But over time, more people dodged the process servers for so long their citations were dismissed by the courts, according to information from DPS.

While the state's cameras are going way, Tempe, Chandler and Mesa plan to keep theirs in place, according to city representatives. At this time, none of those cities plan to increase photo enforcement cameras, which take pictures of both red light and speed violators, or install cameras along the highways.

On July 1, Tempe City Council voted to renew its contract with Redflex and keep its 10 speed photo enforcement cameras at least until July 18, 2011, according to information from the city. Although it is hard to completely credit the speed cameras for reducing accidents, the city cited that they were responsible for a 16 percent decrease in crashes at the intersections since their installations.

Mesa, which has a contract with American Traffic Solutions until 2012, will keep its six stationary speed photo enforcement cameras, two each at three locations, and 26 red light enforcement cameras, according to Sgt. Ed Wessing, a Mesa police spokesman. The speed enforcement cameras are located near Rhodes, Brimhall and Fremont junior high schools in zones that are 45 mph during non-school hours.

There are 12 intersections with photo enforcement cameras in Chandler. At each, there are cameras to cover speed and red light violations.

"We definitely plan to continue using the red light violation and speed cameras in all of the existing locations throughout the city," said Detective Frank Mendoza, a Chandler police spokesman. "We have no plans to increase our photo enforcement program."

The Town of Gilbert does not use speed photo enforcement cameras.

 

Though the state is removing speed enforcement cameras from Arizona highways, cities can still keep red light photo and speed enforcement cameras in place.

These are the locations of photo enforcement in East Valley cities:

MESA

Alma School and Guadalupe roads

Alma School Road and Southern Avenue

Broadway and Dobson roads

Broadway Road and Stapley Drive

Brown and Higley Roads

Broadway and Extension roads

Country Club Drive and Southern

Country Club and University drives

Val Vista Drive and Southern

Gilbert and Baseline roads

Gilbert and McKellips roads

Gilbert and Southern

Greenfield Road and Main Street

Stapley and Southern

Higley and Southern

Lindsay Road and University

Mesa Drive and Broadway

Mesa and Southern

University and Mesa

Power Road and Broadway

Power and Hampton

Power and Main

Power and McKellips

Power and Southern

Southern and Dobson

Stapley and Main

Information: City of Mesa and Mesa Police Department

TEMPE

600 South Priest Road

200 South Rural Road

500 South Rural Road

Mill and Southern avenues

Rural Road and University Drive

McClintock Drive and Guadalupe Road

McClintock Drive and Rio Salado Parkway

48th Street and Broadway Road

Rural and Warner roads

Rural Road and Southern Avenue

Information: City of Tempe

CHANDLER

56th Street and Chandler Boulevard

Rural Road and Ray Road

Dobson Road and Warner Road

Alma School Road and Warner Road

Alma School Road Ray Road

Alma School Road and Queen Creek Road

Arizona Avenue and Elliot Road

Arizona Avenue and Warner Road

Arizona Avenue and Ray Road

Arizona Avenue and Ocotillo Road

McQueen Road and Chandler Boulevard

Gilbert Road and Riggs Road

Information: City of Chandler

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