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The red light camera debate keeps raging on

Elsewhere, thankfully. Not here.

They still have these in some cities

League City is the latest to put the plug on red light cameras at intersections. Cameras at three League City intersections were to be turned off by midnight Wednesday, after the City Council voted to cut short its five-year agreement with Arizona-based contractor Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. The contract was set to expire in October 2014.

In Texas, roughly 60 cities have the camera programs, with fewer than 10 in the Houston area, according to data from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

The League City decision follows action by Montgomery County commissioners last week to end its contract with Redflex, the company that runs 10 red light cameras in The Woodlands.

Redflex spokeswoman Jody Ryan said the contract with Montgomery County is still operational, and it is under discussion with the county.

Use of the cameras spiked to nearly 700 cities by some estimates, but has declined to 530, based on the latest count by the insurance institute.

“They are dropping and adding so much we don’t count their use,” said Nancy White, a spokeswoman for AAA in Washington.

Can I just say how glad I am that we’re no longer debating this in Houston? I had no problems with the cameras, and I still don’t quite understand the fuss they generated, but this is one of those debates that has no resolution. Either you think they’re a good idea or you don’t, and there’s really no middle ground – you either have them in your city or you don’t, and if you don’t like them the only acceptable number to have is zero. It’s useless to cite accident data in the debate – small sample sizes and imprecise definitions render the statistics largely meaningless, with as many studies showing a benefit to having the cameras as there are studies showing the opposite. There’s no compromise – ultimately, one side wins and one side loses. I suppose one advantage to the anti-camera forces winning is that at that point the argument generally ends, since the pro-camera folks no longer have anything to fight about. I have no doubt that had the 2010 camera referendum gone the other way in Houston the anti-camera folks would still be looking for a way to prevail. I’m wearing myself out just thinking about it. Anyway, like I said I’m just glad we’re done with this here. There are plenty of other things to be arguing about, and some of those things do have outcomes that are generally satisfactory to most people. I’m happy we’ve moved on.

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  1. Paul Kubosh says:

    “I’m happy we’ve moved on.”

    Me too

    Paul Kubosh

  2. Yvonne Larsen says:

    A petition with 3300 signatures has been submitted to the Sugar Land, Texas City Secretary. I am glad we’re moving on….to Sugar Land.