|
|
The Suburbanite
  • Canton City Council gets third crack at traffic camera proposal

  • For the third time in roughly the last four years, City Council will be asked to approve the implementation of traffic cameras to catch speeders and red-light runners.

    • email print
  • Call it a game of red light, green light.
    For the third time in roughly the last four years, City Council will be asked to approve the implementation of traffic cameras to catch speeders and red-light runners.
    In 2009, council rejected a similar proposal. In September, on a 7-5 vote, council rejected a plan to implement the cameras.
    Councilman Thomas West, D-2, has introduced the latest proposal. He’s asking to contract with Redflex Traffic Systems.
    A Redflex representative attended Monday night’s City Council judiciary committee session. The traffic camera-related legislation was retained in committee Monday.
    Council meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chamber at City Hall at 218 Cleveland Ave. SW in downtown Canton.
    TRAFFIC CAMERA REVENUE
    The city would not have to pay for the equipment or service.
    Each violation would cost $120, West said. The city would receive 66 percent of the revenue and Redflex would get the rest.
    West said that 80 percent of the camera revenue could be directed to the police department. The remaining 20 percent could fund neighborhood association grants, he said.
    If council desires, legislation also could limit traffic camera use to school zones, West said. The three-year agreement could be continued or scrapped when it ends, he said.
    The law department is still reviewing the legislation, which will include multiple pieces. An ordinance must establish the traffic violations caught on the cameras as civil offenses, not criminal offenses.
    “We want to make (Canton) streets safer,” said Bob Riebe, a regional sales director for Redflex. “... We’re not out there to trap people — that’s not our goal.”
    Video files and footage can be provided to police, he said.
    CAMERA PLAN
    Violations caught on camera would not result in points on a driver’s license or increase auto insurance costs, Riebe said.
    Redflex’s intent is to make the world safer, he said. The new plan addresses liability and collection concerns expressed by some council members in the past, West said.
    Traffic cameras would be posted at 12th Street and Market Avenue N, an intersection with a history of traffic accidents, West noted. Another spot would be Belden Avenue and Tuscarawas Street E, he said.
    Automated traffic enforcement presents a way to address both school zone safety and crime concerns, West said. Plans call for posting cameras in the wards of requesting council members.
    Some cameras could be rotated to different locations, he said.
    ‘GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT’
    Police Chief Bruce Lawver supports use of the cameras, calling the technology a “valuable tool.”
    West said that police could glean information from the cameras for crime-fighting purposes, chiefly license plates.
    Page 2 of 2 - Councilman Kevin Fisher, D-5, a strong opponent of the camera proposal, said that one thing has not changed in the new version.
    “You’re guilty until proven innocent,” he said. “You get a still picture and it’s on you to prove you weren’t speeding.”
    The camera system technology is tested, audited and accurate, Riebe countered.
    The way to avoid the issue “is to be a law-abiding citizen,” he said.
    Holding motorists accountable can change driving behaviors for the better, Riebe said.