SSF red light cameras up and running

May 15, 2010 7:29:54 PM PDT
Speeding drivers, beware. The controversial red light cameras that were out of commission in South San Francisco for months are back up and running.

The red light cameras are at the intersections of El Camino and Westborough Boulevard and El Camino and Boulevard. Some say they are needed for safety, while others insist since there have been 61 accidents here in five years, it's really not that bad.

"I don't think they should have them, I think it's kind of ridiculous," Olimpia Morena said.

"It's good for safety," Miles Guyton said.

The cameras went live at midnight, which means red light runners will start getting tickets immediately.

This comes after a major snafu. The cameras originally went up and started ticketing drivers in August 2009, but the City Council failed to have a second reading and vote, which are legally required before drivers can be penalized.

That meant refunding more than $1 million to ticketed red light runners from August 2009 to January 2010 and dismissing another 1,000 citations from January to March.

The Council had a final hearing and voted to keep the cameras in April.

"Whatever revenue is generated from the fines, we get to keep a portion of the fines, we'll pay for that and again, if we can reduce the number of red light incidents and violations, it will be money well spent," City Council member Rich Garbarino said.

The cameras cost the city $31,000 a month to operate. Each ticket costs a red light runner $446. The city gets $139 of it.

Mayor Mark Addiego voted against the cameras. He says the fine is too stiff and the safety argument does not really apply. He says the majority of violations are for rolling through a red while making a right turn.

"That right turn is usually at a very low rate of speed and I really felt that it didn't rise to the same level of offense as somebody who puts on the gas to make a red light," Addiego said.

The mayor thinks the best thing to do is issue tickets the old fashion way -- through police officers. The cameras will be up for another four years.


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