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Pasadena discontinues red-light camera program

Pasadena shuts down red light cameras
Pasadena drivers can now avoid that gut-wrenching feeling of being caught in the flash of a red-light camera, wondering if they made it through the intersection in time.

City officials decided not to renew a contract with American Traffic Systems Inc. for the city's seven red-light cameras, citing a lack of enforcement from Los Angeles County courts, time wasted by Pasadena police officers and questions about the cameras' effectiveness in improving traffic safety.

Additionally, the program — while never expected to bring in a lot of money — is running at a $4,487 deficit, the Pasadena Sun reported.

Pasadena launched the program in 2003 on a contract that ended in June 2011.

The City Council extended the program for a year while studying its effectiveness.

In the first year after the red-light cameras were installed, transportation officials noted a decline in collisions. But that may have been due to lengthening the time that lights remained yellow, said Bahman Janka, a Pasadena transportation administrator. Further studies found that the frequency of collisions at intersections with and without cameras was similar.

Three of Pasadena's seven cameras are at Marengo Street and Union Avenue, two are at Lake and Union avenues, and two are at Foothill and San Gabriel boulevards. The contract ended Saturday, and all the equipment will be taken down.

Janka said the main reason for killing the cameras is that they waste law enforcement resources.

In a month one officer issues as many traffic citations, including for red-light running, as do all of the cameras, according to a staff report.

"A lot of time is spent going to court dealing with challenges," Janka said. "It makes more sense to put more money into the Police Department, which is more effective."

The city of Los Angeles discontinued its red-light camera program after identifying enforcement and equipment problems.

"The climate in the court system is such at the moment that there's no support for this program," said Mark Yamarone, a Pasadena transportation administrator.

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-- Adolfo Flores, Times Community News

Photo: Pasadena is discontinuing its red-light camera program, which has been running at a deficit of $4,487. Credit: Cheryl A. Guerrero / Times Community News

 
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