Tonight: Commission examines red-light cameras


The Menlo Park Transportation Commission meets tonight to review the city's use of red-light cameras, among other topics. Commissioner Charlie Bourne presented a list of questions for the police department to answer:

- How much revenue does the City's Red Light Camera Program generate every year?

- How does this revenue get allocated to the city's funds?

- How much does it cost the city to administer its Red Light Camera Program per year?

- How much is the fine for red light running and what percent of this fine goes to the city?

- Can you provide the initial information that justified the installation of the red light cameras in the City? What intersections were studied? What were the types and nature of collisions collected in the initial survey? How many involved left turns? How many involved through traffic?

- Is the city meeting the standard in justifying the continuation of this program and can you provide this data?

Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed a state bill sponsored by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, that included legislation to tighten the installation and use of the cameras. For more information about red-light cameras and accident rates in Menlo Park, click here.

The Transportation Commission meeting starts at 7 p.m. in council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.


Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm

A friend of mine received a camera generated citation that also listed his speed. It is just a matter of time before they ding us for that too!

Like this comment
Posted by Henry
a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Brown vetoed Simitian's SB 29 - good! It claimed to be red light camera reform, but actually would have made it worse for drivers. For example, it decreased the number of warning signs at camera enforced intersections, and gave the police much more time to mail the tickets - a year instead of the present 15-day limit. There was one good provision in the bill, but at the last minute it got amended out. The lost provision would have required cities to add a disclosure to the fake tickets they send out. (If the reference to fake tickets puzzles you, do a Google on Snitch Ticket.)

So, good riddance to SB 29.

But not all is good. Brown just signed Mike Gatto's AB 529, which will allow cities to reduce posted speed limits by 5 mph, even on streets with a great safety record. The reduced speed limits will allow cities to shorten yellows, which will increase red light cam ticketing by at least 50%. (Four of the sponsoring cities have red light cams.) Worse, the shortening will increase severe accidents by 30 to 40%. (Source: "Development of Guidelines for Treating Red-Light Running," Texas Transp. Inst. pg 2-20.) This bill would be a good topic for discussion tonight.

The lower speed limits also will make it easier for California cities to issue speeding tickets - groundwork for eventual legislation legalizing speed cameras (photo radar, like they have in Arizona).

Mr. Gatto is very proud of his legislation. It is only fitting that the new speed traps should be called Gatto Traps, with the new shorter yellows called Gatto Yellows.

Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm


I've seen several Red Light tickets that show the speed of the vehicle.

Does anyone know who the vendor is for Menlo Park?

Another subtle change for SMC is that you are instructed to pay your bail before you ever go to court. It used to be you would show up tell your story and if guilty then pay.

Like this comment
Posted by M. A.C.
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 12, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I think it is:

Welcome to the Redflex Group Traffic Systems is the longest consistently-operating company in the ...

Like this comment
Posted by keep the cameras
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

We are safer with these cameras. Way too many drivers speed through the intersection when they should be slowing at the yellow. Pedestrians and bikers, both of whom we profess to want to increase, are incredibly vulnerable to speeding vehicles that seem to push limits beyond the edge of safety.

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm

They may increase safety, they may not. Some studies have shown they actually INCREASE accidents where they are used. The problem with them though is that they violates ones right to confront and question ones accuser. If you contest the citation, the technician that issued it doesn't show up in court. Can't question them, violates teh sixth amendment.

Like this comment
Posted by pedestrian
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm

People still speed.

The difference I've observed is that the Ravenswood@El Camino intersection regularly used to be gridlocked. Mostly from people turning left from Ravenswood onto El Camino who would clog the intersection and prevent anyone else from moving. That no longer happens.

Seems as though you could have accomplished this with regular monitoring of the intersection and without Redflex.

Like this comment
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2011 at 6:52 am

Thank you very much for your ideas to post comments. The contest was really very interesting. I am really thankful to you for providing this unique information. Please keep sharing more and more information...

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Redwood City gets new brewery
By Elena Kadvany | 8 comments | 4,107 views

Palo Alto Measures E, F and Z
By Steve Levy | 5 comments | 1,927 views

Couples: It's Normal to Get Defensive . . . Then What?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,107 views

Learning Disabilities and the Struggle to Be Known
By Aldis Petriceks | 2 comments | 854 views

Messiness and parenting
By Cheryl Bac | 2 comments | 780 views