By on July 28, 2011

Red light cameras are coming down in Los Angeles, California after midnight on Sunday. The city council yesterday voted unanimously to drop the program primarily over the county court system’s refusal to enforce unpaid tickets, depriving the city of millions in expected revenue. The council instructed the city attorney to work with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to decide the cheapest way to remove the systems and process all tickets issued through the end of the month.

“We need to be clear about what we are doing here today with this particular vote,” Councilman Dennis P. Zine said. “I don’t want to give the wrong perception to the public that this program may continue in the future. As I noted, photo red light will be gone in four days. Cameras need to come down immediately to not create a smokescreen to affect the hope that we may turn them back on.”

Last month, the police commission recommended against renewing the automated ticketing contract. Council members split evenly on the issue, and the council’s camera supporters had needed at least a majority to overturn the commission’s decision.

“We need to be honest and transparent with this,” Zine said. “This program did not work as anticipated.”

Motorists who receive a $476 ticket in the mail from ATS within the next few days do not need to pay it. Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officials testifying before the council confirmed that failure to respond to a citation has no affect on credit or driving records. The item will go to the county collections department which will only send a threatening letter and then a follow up letter.

“That’s about the extent of it,” LAPD Lieutenant Ron Katona said.

More vigorous opposition to the program came from council members inspired by Safer Streets LA Executive Director Jay Beeber and Dr. Rhodes Rigsby, mayor of the city of Loma Linda, who argued that engineering improvements were more effective than cameras.

“My main objection to this whole thing is that I believe the same safety can be achieved by signal timing changes,” Councilman Paul Koretz said. “I believe DOT has been pretty resistant to this concept. In budget committee, we found that DOT was not planning on immediately implementing the measure that the council had passed twelve to nothing to change the signal timing on all the signalized intersections [with cameras], plus the additional ones that were identified as more dangerous…. DOT claims it complies with the MUTCD, but the times in the manual are minimums.”

Los Angeles adds about 0.3 seconds to the bare minimum yellow timing, but Loma Linda saw a 92 percent reduction in violations upon adding a full second to the yellow. The pricey photo tickets have been extremely unpopular throughout Los Angeles. Last month, the Northridge East Neighborhood Council voted unanimously to tell the city council to drop photo enforcement. The Sherman Oaks and Valley Alliance neighborhood groups also formally opposed ticketing.

“No longer will motorists in the nation’s second largest city be tagged with $450 photo tickets for driving maneuvers like rolling right turns that have essentially no bearing on traffic safety statistics,” National Motorists Association spokesman Gary Biller said.


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5 Comments on “Los Angeles, California Red Light Camera Program Officially Canceled...”

  • avatar

    Motorists who receive a $476 ticket in the mail from ATS within the next few days do not need to pay it.

    I’m curious as to how they arrived at that price. It seems ATS would have been much better served by $50 or $100 tickets – one would assume far less public outrage.

  • avatar

    The cameras have been turned off in Long Beach also, but the city council is still considering renewing the contract with ATS. I emailed my council member encouraging them to be left off. Her response was something along the lines of “we’re still waiting for the data” but also included an anecdote of how just last week she waited 5 (FIVE!) seconds after a light turned green before proceeding, and thank goodness she did because just then someone ran that red light.
    I think she’s either clairvoyant or has a very poor concept of time.

    • 0 avatar

      Ask her to get a copy of the traffic signal plan for the intersection. She will find the light is set wrong. Revenue cameras don’t reset wrong traffic signal light times, they profit from it.

      Combine true and honest compliance with the FHWA MUTCD/ITE Kell and Fullerton light change duration calculation with an “all-red” traffic signal plan and you have one helluva safe and efficient intersection.

  • avatar

    LA: good! Everywhere else in California: Speed and red light ticketing will increase. Why?

    There is a bill in Sacramento, right now, which if not vetoed will allow cities to reduce posted speeds by 5 mph, even on streets with a great safety record. The lower limits will allow them to shorten yellows. The shortening permitted by a 5 mph decrease in the speed 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.)

    It is AB 529, and it is going to Gov. Brown for signature – or veto.

    Defeat AB 529! Phone Brown, at 916 445-2841, or email him via the form at , and ask him to veto. Also phone the AAA, and your union or professional association.

    To the pro-camera anti-car people and cities thinking of supporting this bill for the money more tickets will bring: Try to remember that this bill will increase severe accidents, a lot. Just for money.

    By the way. California’s red light cam tickets are $500. Y’all come visit California real soon! Thank you.

  • avatar

    I came through the intersection of Beverly and Western Monday night, and the cameras were still there, but the cables to them had been unceremoniously cut and the ends left to dangle. A heartwarming sight. ;) Apparently ATS will have to come and retrieve them instead of LA city workers (no $ to pay them overtime to take them down).

    Next step is to get them ripped out in Pasadena–almost got rear-ended the other day (in my wife’s new car) stopping to avoid a cam ticket. (Although I don’t know why I bothered, since the DMV hasn’t seen fit to send the plates out yet.)

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