Menlo Park installs red-light cameras at Chilco, Bayfront Expressway


A red-light camera monitoring system to catch drivers running red lights has been installed at Bayfront Expressway and Chilco Street in eastern Menlo Park.

This is the fourth location for the red-light cameras in Menlo Park.

The intersection was chosen "because of a high volume of collisions due to speed and red-light violations," according to Nicole Acker, spokesperson for the Menlo Park Police Department.

Running red lights has caused 28 percent of major injury collisions and 14 percent of fatality collisions in Menlo Park, police say.

In August 2011, a fatality occurred at that intersection when Richard Buckley, a 64-year-old bicyclist, died after his bike and a Lincoln Town car collided.

Menlo Park ranks second-worst out of 92 cities of similar size statewide for the number of victims involved in traffic collisions, according to 2013 rankings from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

The penalty for a red-light violation is one point on a driving record and a minimum fine of $380, according to the city's website.

The cameras

The system uses a radar sensor to detect when a car is traveling too fast toward an intersection to stop at a red light, according to Sgt. Matthew Ortega, who supervises the city's red-light enforcement program.

Once the sensor is triggered, it activates cameras to snap photos that record the car's position in the intersection, the license plate and the driver's face. The cameras, when triggered, also record 12 seconds of live-streaming video, 6 seconds before and 6 seconds after a violation, according to Ms. Acker.

After the photos and videos are collected, they go to Redflex Traffic Systems, which has a contract with Menlo Park to install, maintain and operate the red-light cameras, according to Sgt. Ortega.

The city pays about $6,200 per month for the service, according to Hilory Brown, who enforces red light laws in Menlo Park.

In 2015, there were 4,356 citations issued in Menlo Park that were associated with the red-light cameras, she said.

The other intersections in Menlo Park that are monitored by red-light cameras are: Bayfront Expressway at Willow Road, two approaches at the El Camino Real and Ravenswood Avenue intersection, and El Camino Real and Valparaiso Avenue.

Redflex does the first round of filtering the captured images for the Menlo Park Police Department, Sgt. Ortega said. Then, trained police officers and staff go through the information Redflex sends them, verifying vehicle information and ensuring the vehicle was in violation.

For the red-light camera system at Chilco Street and Bayfront Expressway, there will be a 30-day grace period that ends at midnight on Jan. 7, 2017. Citations will begin getting sent by mail starting Jan. 8, according to the police department.

The city's transportation department and police department worked with Caltrans to get permission to install the cameras, according to Menlo Park city staff.

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9 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 13, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Red light runners are evil. We need to prosecute them by any means necessary.

Like this comment
Posted by Mpres
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 13, 2016 at 12:53 pm

@resident 'Intentional red light runners' may be "evil" but aware that if the light timing is changed by the city, even slightly, that can caus an uptick in the number of cars accidentally trapped by the cameras - not necessarily "red-light" runners, but average drivers, with good records that get snagged just after light timing is changed.

9 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 13, 2016 at 12:58 pm

If you are a pedestrian in a crosswalk with the green light, doesn't matter if the red light runner is intentional or "just distracted". Drivers need to pay attention all the time. Red lights are bright red. They are preceded by bright yellow lights.

7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 13, 2016 at 1:02 pm

PS. Don't tell pedestrians to wait until they are sure all cars are stopped in all directions before stepping into the crosswalk. Walk light cycles are so short in this city that if you wait too long to start crossing, cars will get a new green light before you finish crossing the street and then you are a sitting duck.

7 people like this
Posted by Ritchie Rich
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 13, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Cameras are primarily about money for the company and the city, not safety. Look at all the old redlight cameras threads on the Almanac.

9 people like this
Posted by James C. Walker
a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2016 at 2:26 pm

1) There are now 5 guilty pleas or verdicts in federal Redflex-related cases for fraud, bribery, or extortion. NO ONE should ever deal with Redflex.
2) Red light cameras produce profits above their high costs ONLY by ticketing mostly safe drivers (along with a tiny percentage that deserve it).
3) These cameras are mostly about ticketing slow rolling right on red turns, actions that almost never cause crashes. NHTSA research shows right on red turns, with or without a full stop, are involved in only six one-hundredths of one percent (0.06% or 0.0006) of crashes with injuries or fatalities.
4) Right on red tickets for not quite stopping are larceny, literally theft from safe drivers who endangered no one.
5) Menlo Park should join this group. These 79 California cities were reported to have dropped red light cameras, or prohibited them before any were installed. Anaheim, Arleta, Baldwin Park, Bell Gardens, Belmont, Berkeley, Burlingame, Cerritos, City of Orange, Compton, Corona, Costa Mesa, Cupertino, Davis, East LA, El Cajon, El Monte, Emeryville, Escondido, Fairfield, Fresno, Fullerton, Gardena, Glendale, Grand Terrace, Hayward, Highland, Indian Wells, Inglewood, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lancaster, Loma Linda, Long Beach, City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Manteca, Marysville, Maywood, Montclair, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Newport Beach, Oakland, Oceanside, Paramount, Pasadena, Poway, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Redwood City, Riverside, Rocklin, Roseville, Rowland Heights, San Bernardino, San Carlos, San Diego, San Juan Capistrano, San Rafael, Santa Ana, Santa Clarita, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Maria, Santa Rosa, South Gate, South San Francisco, South Whittier, Stockton, Union City, Upland, Victorville, *Vista Jan. 2017*, Walnut, Westminster, Whittier, Yuba City, Yucaipa.
*cities where cameras operate until the end of their current contract on the dates noted*
33 plan to continue at this point. Note: The city of Modesto has a suspended program with an unknown future. They are still counted in the 33 number above, but only 32 programs are or plan to be issuing tickets currently, in a state that once had over 100 programs.
James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

5 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 13, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Cars running red lights to turn right are a common cause of cars hitting pedestrians. Trust me, a car hitting a pedestrian at any speed is a very unpleasant experience for the pedestrian.

Like this comment
Posted by Ritchie Rich
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 13, 2016 at 3:18 pm

"Cars running red lights to turn right are a common cause of cars hitting pedestrians."


"Walk light cycles are so short in this city"


"We need to prosecute them by any means necessary."

Agreed. If suitable evidence doesn't exist - have PEOTUS waterboard them! In Gitmo!!

3 people like this
Posted by It's Rigged
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 13, 2016 at 4:30 pm

@Ritchie Rich

Here are your sources


1) You know it
2) I know it
3) EVERYONE knows it

4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 13, 2016 at 6:33 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"1) You know it
2) I know it
3) EVERYONE knows it"

Wow. Scientific evidence if I ever heard it.

7 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 13, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

These cameras, per the city's own data, do NOTHING except collect money. Example: camera at Oak Grove and ECR. ZERO red light accidents before installation of red light camera. ZERO red light accidents after installation. BUT, tons of money into the city coffers. If red light cameras were actually being placed where there were ACTUAL, documented cases of red light violation problems I could support them. But there is ZERO evidence to support their use. They are nothing more than money generators for MP. Now there's another one. The City Council should be ashamed.

Like this comment
Posted by Aaron
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 13, 2016 at 10:25 pm

My wife and I have clean driving records (I've never had a violation in my 28 years of driving), and the only ticket the two of us have received in the past 10 years has been a slow right on red at ECR "south"-bound onto Menlo Ave.

I can't tell you how many times I've turned left from Ravenswood onto ECR "south" and been caught in the intersection as the light turned red owing to the horrible lane markings (people going straight onto Menlo Ave should have a lane marking that swings out a little bit to the right, but they don't, so some try to cut the angles and jog too far left into the turning lane), and the tight left turn with the road furniture jutting out too far, which combine to slow traffic on the turn. I wonder how often the cameras catch innocent drivers on that turn?

2 people like this
Posted by Stephen
a resident of another community
on Dec 14, 2016 at 1:02 pm

RLC are NOT about safety.

How many RLV crashes occurred out of ALL CRASHES in the intersection in question???? (Notice they didn't bring this up).

Of the RLV crashes, how many were:

fleeing police
stolen vehicles
not paying attention

NONE OF THOSE would ever be stopped by a RLC!

The city needs to list HOW MANY CRASHES at that intersection, and HOW many were RLV and what the cause was. A RLC will not stop NONE RLV CRASHES.

Not bringing that up is DISHONEST!

Most RLC tickets are: right turn on reds, stopping on or over the stop line, and split second.
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