Remember when Worcester talked about traffic cameras a million years ago?
And then nothing ever happened?
Well, a man called Jordan Levy last week and said, “Are we actually doing something with those traffic cameras?” and that refreshed someone’s memory enough that it’s back on the docket for tomorrow’s city council meeting.
(Separate note: I cannot get any of those City Council weblinks to ever work on a Mac. If you have a Mac and can actually see those Laserfiche Weblink documents, can you please tell me how you do it?)
I can only think in bullets, so that’s what you’re going to get:
- Red light cameras still increase accidents.
- California and Louisiana courts have struck down various municipalities’ traffic camera programs.
- While the City Manager says that this would only be a civil infraction, the city of Lawrence was wary of implementing them five years ago because it would cause an insurance surcharge.
- While Worcester (along with other communities) has said this would come at no cost to the taxpayer, “police would review the photos to determine if a traffic citation should be issued to the owner.” How is that at no cost to the taxpayer? Wouldn’t we feel the need to get our money’s worth out of the people reviewing the photos?
- The car owner, not the driver, would get the citation. So much for targeting the people who cause accidents!
The current Nick K. article states that “when the proposal came up three years ago, the council was told the video surveillance program would cost the city nothing because the company hired to install the video cameras would take a percentage of the ticket revenue.”
Would this be put out to bid? Are we aware that there are companies that should be actively avoided? (Really, read about what an employee at American Traffic Solutions did and see if that would make you comfortable with that company being involved in ticketing in Worcester.)
The real question, I suppose, is why anyone would want to sign a contract with a company that is in the traffic camera business.
Let’s also review the most accident-prone intersections in the city:
1) Highland Street (Lincoln Square) and Main Street. It boggles the mind to see if we’d be able to improve that considering the whole intersection is a traffic engineer’s nightmare.
2) Belmont Street and Oak Avenue. No red light!
3) Park Avenue and May Street. Lead green, anyone?
4) Belmont Street and Lincoln Street.
5) Chandler Street and Murray Avenue. No red light!
6) Southbridge Street and Hammond Street.
7) Belmont Street and Plantation Street.
8) Park Avenue and Pleasant Street. I feel like this is going to turn into a “we need lead green” echo chamber.
9) Lincoln Street and Melrose Street.
10) Lincoln Street and Marsh Avenue.
11) Park Avenue and Highland Street. (lead green.)
12) Main Street and Chandler Street.
13) Chandler Street and Piedmont Street.
14) Main Street and Mill Street. (This is the nightmare that keeps the Lincoln Square/Main Street nightmare awake at night.)
15) Stafford Street and Curtis Parkway. (Actually, this is totally a “lead green” situation.)
Raise your hand if you think any of these intersections could have their safety improved by traffic cameras.
Most of these intersections could benefit from some strategic traffic planning, with some lead (or end) green lights, which would allow those wanting to turn left to actually turn left during the same century they began their journey.
But, of course, we really don’t want to improve those intersections.
If we want to improve public safety, let’s improve public safety and pay for a traffic engineer to study traffic and adopt his/her suggestions.
If we want to make money by installing cameras instead of actually doing stuff that could calm traffic, then let’s just come out and say it.