July 04, 2007
Waving At Sugar Land

And, Sugar Land waves back at Houston, joining in on the red light camera craze.

Red-light cameras, already a fixture in Houston and other Texas cities, will be going up at busy Sugar Land intersections.

By a 5-0 vote Tuesday, the City Council approved the ordinance allowing the cameras to spot red-light runners in this Fort Bend County city. Council members Russell Jones and Thomas Abraham were absent.
Sugar Land Police Chief Steve Griffith said a probable spot for the cameras would be at U.S. 59 and Texas 6, in the heart of the city's business district.

Griffith said as many as 75,000 vehicles go through the intersection each day. Monitors have been collecting data on red-light violations at intersections, but the figures are not expected to be available until later this week, he said.

Police officers will review the photos, Griffith said. If they think a violation occurred, a civil citation will be issued by mail. He said the city hopes to have system operational by September.

Motorists can pay the $75 fine or request a hearing.

Griffith said officials will probably choose four or five locations in the city.

"They will be our heaviest traveled intersections where we find the most number of violations of red lights," he said Tuesday.

He stressed the red-light cameras are being used to improve traffic safety and not as a revenue generator. A state law provides that cities can use fines only to pay for program expenses.

All other money collected must be paid into programs that provide for trauma care for accident victims and for traffic-safety improvements.

Now, I drive through that 59 and Hwy 6 intersection a lot. Or used to. It's become so congested that it's best avoided. They are installing a new traffic light right in the middle of all of the problems, but for now, you might as well plan on getting caught running a red light there or being stuck in the middle of an intersection when a light changes to red.

I know Kuff has written about the red light cameras pretty extensively. I don't know how I feel about them. I don't want me or my family hit by someone running a red light, so if this makes the roads safer for the people I care about, then great. I'll be eager to see the data to find out if this is so.

Posted by Martha Griffin on July 04, 2007 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Anyone caught in the middle of an intersection when their light turns red, even if they are stopped, deserves a ticket. They deserve one ticket each for every driver with a green light that they are blocking and a bonus ticket from each driver who couldn't pass through their green light before it turned red again.

Posted by: Charles Hixon on July 4, 2007 1:20 PM