Dear Editor – Red Light Camera Issues

Dear Editor,Light-bulb-0003-300x198

Making the City safer is paramount, so I will discuss it first.

Page 3 of the staff report says that there were eight collisions in 2014, and then discusses the number of collisions in 2015 and 2016. But it does not discuss years prior to 2014, which is curious considering that the City has had cameras for seventeen years. The following table, copied from the annual report the
City filed with the Judicial Council, may explain why.

 

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From Annual report required by CVC 21455.5(i)

This table suggests that the cameras haven’t made a significant difference – except maybe at Jefferson and
Overland. And the reduction at that intersection may be due to engineering improvements made sometime after 2003. Culver City is not alone; over twenty other California cities – including San Francisco, which has had cameras for nineteen years – have seen no significant improvement brought by their cameras. San Francisco’s report is particularly interesting as it shows a strong temporal relationship between engineering
improvements and accident reduction. (To see the other cities’ statements and reports, do a search on
highwayrobbery.com candor and go to section 4.5 on the page that will come up. I have not provided a live link, as
links and attachments often trigger spam filters. )

The table at the bottom of page 4 of the staff report shows that over 2/3 of the tickets from the proposed new
cameras could be for rolling right turns. Based upon the 1000 (avg.) right turn tickets the City’s
Sepulveda/Green Valley camera has generated each month since last December when the City enabled right
turn enforcement there, some of the proposed new cameras could generate similar quantities of right turn
tickets. Will that heavy right turn ticketing bring about a big reduction in rolling right turn violations in the months
after the first round of tickets goes out? Sepulveda/Green Valley over the last twelve months tells us “no.”
And here is what Redflex answered when another of their clients asked a similar question:
Menlo Park Sgt. Sharon Kaufman: “My only question is since most of the violations are right turns, how long would
that be sustainable?”

The RedFlex sales rep – who formerly was a lieutenant with the Fremont police and ran the camera program there –
was quick to reply:

Mark Riggs: “I can say that most intersections that have right turns enforced continue to produce consistent numbers.”

(From some legally obtained emails.)
If you want accident reduction, provide funding to make the intersection improvements indicated by the
examination of individual accidents. For example, intersections are safer when left turns are protected
with a green arrow. Unlike many other cities, Culver City is fortunate to have enough money to make
intersection improvements wherever needed, and should make it a priority.

Other Issues for Discussion

1. Would you please ask the CCPD to track, and provide a monthly report on, the disposition of red light
camera violations made by vehicles having protected/confidential license plates? (In California over 1.5 million
private vehicles have protected plates, under the program permitted by CVC 1808.4.)

2. Would you please ask the CCPD to track, and provide a monthly report on, the number of red light
camera incidents flashed where the driver was a Culver City resident, and the number of camera tickets eventually
issued to those residents – so that that ratio can be compared to the ratio for non-residents?

3. Will the City be supporting the 2017 legislation permitting speed camera/photo radar tickets in California,
as proposed by San Francisco and San Jose?

4. Would you please ask the CCPD to fill-in the collision section on its red light camera 2015 annual report?
Presently it says, “Information not available.” [Note;  At the meeting the Chief said that in response to my email, they had just added the collision info. I haven’t seen it yet.]

Regards,

Jim Lissner

Editor’s Note – These are the comments presented at the Dec,. 12th meeting by Jim Lissner. They were quoted in part in our coverage ( See http://culvercitycrossroads.com/2016/12/14/hit-the-brakes-city-approves-six-new-red-light-cameras/) and are presented here in greater depth.) 

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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