Second Texas City Initiates Traffic Camera Referendum

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper
second texas city initiates traffic camera referendum

Inspired by the success of the College Station, Texas initiative banning red light cameras, activists a hundred miles away in are collecting signatures to do the same in Baytown. Officials in the Gulf Coast city of 72,000 allowed American Traffic Solutions to set up the cameras in April 2008, but resident Byron Schirmbeck is circulating a petition in the hopes of giving voters the opportunity to take them back down. “The response has been absolutely overwhelming,” Schirmbeck told TheNewspaper. “I am conservative in saying that I have had less than ten percent of people I asked at public places refuse to sign because they support the cameras. The usual response to the question, ‘Would you like to sign the petition to ban the red light cameras?’ is ‘Hell yes’ and ‘Can I get my wife to sign it too?'”

Schirmbeck formed the Baytown Red Light Camera Coalition PAC to coordinate the petition drive. He needs 620 verified signatures to qualify the initiative for the next ballot. No photo enforcement program has ever survived a public referendum.

Schirmbeck has been especially interested in the issue since he caught the city using illegally short yellow times in an effort to increase revenue. After he beat his ticket at West Baker and Garth Roads earlier this year, the city increased the yellow time to 4.5 seconds on June 5. Seeing the number of $75 violations drop, the city decreased the yellow time to 4.0 seconds in July. The city justified this change by putting up a 40 MPH speed limit sign on the camera-monitored approach, even though the other side of the same road is posted at 45 MPH. Texas law sets minimum yellow timing standards according to the posted speed limit.

“Just when I think I have seen the city do everything they can to keep their revenue with the cameras they go and surprise me again,” Schirmbeck said.


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2 of 3 comments
  • Texlovera Texlovera on Nov 16, 2009

    "Cluestick! Apply directly to forehead of elected officials!" What a wonderful political class we have these days...

  • Lumbergh21 Lumbergh21 on Nov 17, 2009

    Just remember it's a safety issue. You can't possibly be against safety can you? (sarcasm for those of you who didn't catch it)

  • Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
  • Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.
  • Ribbedroof In Oklahoma, no less!
  • Ribbedroof Have one in the shop for minor front collision repairs right now,I've seen more of these in the comments than in the 30 years I've been in collision repair.
  • Tassos And all 3 were ordered by Fisker's mother. Seriously, given Fisker's terrible record of Failure in the past, only an utter loser, (for example, VGhost or Art Vandelay?), looking for a BEV terrible enough to be a proper replacement of his 11 mile range Fiat 500E, would order one of these. (apart from Fisker's mother)