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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Police plan to stop red light runners

    Cars pass though the intersection at East Speedway Boulevard and North Park Avenue last night where a photo radar system may be installed. The Tucson Police Department is investigating the most effective areas around campus to try to catch speeders and red light runners.
    Cars pass though the intersection at East Speedway Boulevard and North Park Avenue last night where a photo radar system may be installed. The Tucson Police Department is investigating the most effective areas around campus to try to catch speeders and red light runners.

    The Tucson City Council passed a measure last week to install photo radars near schools – a program that could catch speeders and red-light runners near campus.

    The city council Tuesday unanimously passed a pilot program to catch red-light runners and speeders by using a photo-radar van and cameras at intersections, said Andrew Greenhill, Mayor Bob Walkup’s chief of staff.

    “”We hope to reduce the red-light running in Tucson,”” Greenhill said. “”It’s very, very dangerous.””

    The photo radar will have a special focus on school zones, Greenhill said. The program comes after a young child died in a school zone a couple of years ago due to a red-light runner.

    “”The goal of this whole project is to reduce crashes, reduce speeding and reduce red light running.””
    – Lieutenant Mike Pryor, traffic section commander, TPD

    In addition to the program, the Tucson Police Department plans to conduct research to determine the areas most prone to speeding and red-light running.

    “”Part of what we want to do is put them in areas where they will be the most effective,”” said Lieutenant Mike Pryor, traffic section commander of TPD.

    TPD will look at construction areas along with school zones in its research, Pryor said.

    TPD will analyze school zones near the UA and the North Campbell Avenue and East Grant Road area, which are good candidates for photo-radar areas, although the department has not conducted an official investigation of the idea, he said.

    TPD Chief Richard Miranda proposed a photo-radar strategy in November, Pryor said. Following the proposal, TPD held town hall meetings in each ward.

    The proposal then went through a series of subcommittees that analyzed the results of the town hall meetings and passed them on to the city council, Pryor said.

    TPD is currently drafting a request for proposals for vendors that will put up the cameras, he said. Pryor said he expects the project to take off in June.

    Councilwoman Nina Trasoff said she is concerned with other issues, such as privacy, and wants to make sure that only the driver will be photographed.

    “”My hope is that we are going to reduce the number of traffic accidents,”” Trasoff said.

    Tucsonans who oppose the plan are concerned with the failures of photo radar in other police precincts.

    “”We need to learn from some of the problems that other jurisdictions have encountered,”” Trasoff said.

    Some of the problematic trials involved issues with technology and enforcement problems, such as photos taken of drivers who do not own the vehicle they are photographed driving, Greenhill said.

    But Greenhill said he intends to focus on learning from the successes of the system in other precincts, too.

    Pryor has a different take on the situation.

    “”I want everybody to know where these are, which intersections the red-light cameras are at, where the van is,”” Pryor said.

    This will cause people to become more cautious in the areas without getting a ticket, he said.

    “”The goal of this whole project is to reduce crashes, reduce speeding and reduce red light running,”” Pryor said. “”The program would be ultimately successful if we could deploy the van and not write any tickets. That would be 100 percent success.””

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