The Truth About Cars » college station http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:05:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » college station http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Texas: Accidents Increase at Controversial Red Light Camera Intersection http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/texas-accidents-increase-at-controversial-red-light-camera-intersection/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/texas-accidents-increase-at-controversial-red-light-camera-intersection/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2009 14:44:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=336971 Accidents rose after the installation of a red light camera at one major intersection in Baytown, Texas. The private company American Traffic Solutions began issuing automated tickets at the intersection of Garth and Baker Roads on March 21, 2008. Since then, safety has not improved at the controversial camera location. According to a brochure published […]

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Peek-a-boo! (courtesy:northjersey.com)

Accidents rose after the installation of a red light camera at one major intersection in Baytown, Texas. The private company American Traffic Solutions began issuing automated tickets at the intersection of Garth and Baker Roads on March 21, 2008. Since then, safety has not improved at the controversial camera location.

According to a brochure published by the city, “red light safety cameras” were installed because, “There have been more than 1,000,000 accidents and more than 1000 deaths attributed to red light runners that occur each year in the United States.” Presumably, the cameras are meant to reduce the number of collisions and deaths at Baytown intersections.

This has not happened according to accident reports from all three monitored approaches of the Garth and Baker intersection from eighteen months before the installation of cameras compared to the same period afterward. Instead, the total number of collisions grew by 11 percent. Although proponents of cameras frequently suggest that the increase in rear end collisions (31 percent in this case) is offset by the reduction in “more serious” collisions, the data show, to the contrary, that there was no reduction at all in the number of serious injury accidents.

“Remember this when the city tells you it is about safety,” Baytown resident Byron Schirmbeck said. “Keep in mind this is the city’s own report.”

Schirmbeck requested the accident data after noticing that the city had claimed a 63 percent accident reduction at the intersection in its report to the state department of transportation. He found the numbers hard to believe.

Schirmbeck has also twice caught the city shortening the yellow warning time in order to increase ticketing revenue at the same intersection. In June, he challenged the city for using a 3.1 second yellow timing, a value that was set just before camera installation after a “synchronization study.” After the short yellow was exposed, the city was forced the city to increase the timing to the legal minimum of 4.5 seconds. In July, however, the city shortened the yellow to just 4.0 seconds and justified the move by installing a 40 MPH speed limit sign on the 45 MPH road. As of now, the city has replaced the lowered speed limit sign and increased the yellow to the bare minimum allowable time of 4.5 seconds.

Schirmbeck is circulating a petition to put the question of whether red light cameras should be banned to the voters. Earlier this month, College Station residents voted to ban automated enforcement. ATS deactivated its cameras in that city yesterday.

A copy of the accident data is available in a 1mb PDF file at the source link below.

Source: Baker and Garth Accident Reports (City of Baytown, Texas, 11/24/2009)

[courtesy:thenewspaper.com]

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College Station, Texas Red Light Cameras to Come Down http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/college-station-texas-red-light-cameras-to-come-down/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/college-station-texas-red-light-cameras-to-come-down/#comments Mon, 23 Nov 2009 19:37:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=336733 A judge yesterday forced the settlement of a traffic camera company-backed lawsuit with the city of College Station, Texas over the public’s November 3 vote to ban red light cameras. Although terms of the deal have not been released, the city council voted 4-0 on November 11 to abide by the results of the election, […]

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A judge yesterday forced the settlement of a traffic camera company-backed lawsuit with the city of College Station, Texas over the public’s November 3 vote to ban red light cameras. Although terms of the deal have not been released, the city council voted 4-0 on November 11 to abide by the results of the election, leaving American Traffic Solutions (ATS) with no hope of continuing its ticketing program without a costly legal battle.

ATS had used its front group, the Keep College Station Safe Political Action Committee (PAC), to hire the lawfirm that won a temporary restraining order forbidding the city from implementing the initiative approved by voters. The company-backed lawsuit argued that the November 3 vote was invalid because the petition placing the measure on the ballot had been filed more than 600 days too late. Under city rules, an “initiative” petition to create a new ordinance has no deadlines, but a “referendum” petition to overturn an existing ordinance has a tight, twenty-day deadline. ATS-backed representatives argued that the petition was a referendum, not an initiative.
City Attorney Harvey Cargill agreed with this assessment and at first attempted to throw the case by filing a response to the lawsuit stating that the city, in effect, did not care which way the judge ruled. City leaders, seeing the political consequences of disregarding the will of voters, forced Cargill to hire the Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP law firm as outside counsel. Attorney C. Robert Heath on Thursday filed a far more impressive response to the ATS-backed suit, citing the state supreme court’s standing interpretation of election law.
“The court explained that the policy behind requiring petitions as a prerequisite to calling certain elections is to provide a mechanism to insure that an election will not be called unless there is some indication that there is a desire of a significant proportion of the electorate for the change requested and that, if an election is called, there will be a reasonable possibility that the measure will pass,” Heath argued. “Once the election has occurred, however, the question of the process of calling the election is of little or no continual relevance since the people will have spoken, and the court’s primary concern will become to uphold the expressed will of the people.”
Heath cited the long-standing precedent established by the Texas Supreme Court decision Scarborough v. Eubank.
“The object of a popular election is that the will of the greater number of voters may prevail,” the high court wrote in Scarborough. “Hence the important matter in every election is that the will of the voters should be fairly expressed, correctly declared, and legally enforced. Compared to this, the question as to the manner and time of ordering the election is of trivial moment.”
The November 3 election in College Station was well-publicized and each ballot was clearly marked “For Ordinance bans cameras” and “Against Ordinance allows cameras.” A majority of residents selected the option to ban cameras. The city council will meet Monday at 7pm to ratify the settlement.

[courtesy:thenewspaper.com]

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Texas: Red Light Camera Company Blocks Referendum http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/texas-red-light-camera-company-blocks-referendum/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/texas-red-light-camera-company-blocks-referendum/#comments Thu, 12 Nov 2009 14:09:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=335075 A lawsuit funded by a photo enforcement company succeeded yesterday in temporarily blocking the results of the vote to end red light cameras in College Station, Texas. Judge Suzanne Stovall granted a temporary restraining order preventing the city from ending its contract with American Traffic Solutions, despite the November 3 vote of a majority of […]

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Darkness falls (courtesy pics4.city-data.com)

A lawsuit funded by a photo enforcement company succeeded yesterday in temporarily blocking the results of the vote to end red light cameras in College Station, Texas. Judge Suzanne Stovall granted a temporary restraining order preventing the city from ending its contract with American Traffic Solutions, despite the November 3 vote of a majority of residents demanding that the cameras come down. The law firm of Bovey, Akers and Bojorquez ostensibly filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Keep College Station Safe Political Action Committee (PAC), a group entirely funded by College Station’s camera vendor, American Traffic Solutions (ATS) and its subcontractors. Of the PAC’s $67,100 in reported funding, the largest chunk — $30,000 — came directly from ATS. Garry Mauro, a paid ATS consultant, gave $5000. Another $8000 came from Signal Electric, a Washington-based contractor that installs red light cameras for ATS. ForceCon Services, a Texas-based red light camera installation subcontractor, gave $5000. Questmark Information Management Inc, a company that prints citations for ATS, provided a $16,600 in-kind donation.

The company’s election challenge argued that the initiative petition was invalid because it referenced an ordinance “enacted 10/25/08″ when the ordinance in question had actually passed in October 2007.

“Given the failure on the part of the ‘initiative petitions’ to identify with reasonable specificity the ordinance sought to be repealed, as identified by its date of adoption, the court cannot ascertain the true outcome of the election and the election should be declared void,” the ATS-backed suit explained.

The suit also contended that the initiative was actually a “referendum” that should have been filed in 2007, twenty days after the ordinance was adopted. Against this, Ash argued that his petition to the city council, signed by residents, was labeled “initiative” not “referendum.” Moreover, the petition declares the “powers” referenced by the ordinance to be “deemed and declared unenforceable” — a legislative action that would do more than simply overturn a particular ordinance.

Although College Station officials are named as defendants in the lawsuit, the city had been planning for this action. The city also admitted that it did not believe there was any mandate to take down the red light cameras, despite the election results.

“College Station was concerned that the petition was invalid because it was a referendum that was untimely filed, and told [petition sponsor Jim Ash] that regardless the city would submit the petition to the voters, but that the petition may be challenged in court,” the city’s brief to the court explained. “Such results do not in themselves send a clear message to College Station that the electorate overwhelmingly desires that red light cameras be banned.”

Hearings on the issue will continue on November 20.

[courtesy thenewspaper.com]

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