City lauds green side of keeping red-light cameras operating

“You’ve got the uncertainty with the state Legislature and the dichotomy among elected officials as to whether they’re good or bad,” said Aurora City Councilman Bob LeGare, a member of the city’s Public Safety Committee. “Once it’s resolved in the Legislature, someone might want to bring up the topic.”

AURORA | Aurora’s city coffers see more than $1 million a year from photo red light and photo radar tickets. But with controversy surrounding the cameras, Aurora City Council members remain cautious about expanding their use.

“You’ve got the uncertainty with the state Legislature and the dichotomy among elected officials as to whether they’re good or bad,” said Aurora City Councilman Bob LeGare, a member of the city’s Public Safety Committee. “Once it’s resolved in the Legislature, someone might want to bring up the topic.”

For the past three years, Colorado lawmakers have attempted to ban the cameras statewide.

A vehicle runs a red light at the intersection of Alameda Parkway and South Buckley Road on April 14. State lawmakers are considering on banning red light and radar traffic cameras. (Courtland Wilson/ Aurora Sentinel)Last spring House Speaker Mark Ferrandino and Republican Rep. Steve Humphrey came close with a bill to make the cameras illegal that was ultimately killed by the House Appropriations Committee.

State lawmakers have so far not come out against banning the cameras in 2015.

“I have no plans at the moment to run another bill on red light cameras,” said Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, who sponsored last year’s bill to ban them.

City Council members of Aurora’s Public Safety Committee agreed that if a bill comes up next year, a program known as “Nexus” that relies on nearly $500,000 from photo red light and photo radar fines, could be vulnerable.

After two years of adding money to the city’s Nexus program, which supports nonprofits that provide a substantial service to law enforcement, Council members of the Public Safety Committee agreed to dole out $824,000 among six nonprofit agencies and one pilot program for 2015. That amount, which still needs to be approved by all of City Council, is the same as what was approved for 2014.   

Art Schut, president and CEO of Arapahoe House, the only detox treatment facility in Aurora, said his organization could not operate without the $119,000 it sees from Nexus.

According to city documents, nearly 40 percent of Arapahoe House’s clients are brought in by Aurora Police. The city’s police even have a special room in the building where they can process paperwork for intoxicated individuals onsite.

Aurora City Manager Skip Noe said if the Legislature were to ban cameras next year, Aurora has $700,00 reserved to sustain Nexus nonprofits through 2016.

Aurora Councilwoman Marsha Berzins, whose ward encompasses 10 of the 14 intersections where photo radar cameras are located, said she doesn’t believe the cameras make her residents feel safer, and that they are being kept because they generate money for the city. “We funded our (Nexus) programs before we had red light cameras, and we can always find the money to fund those programs should the cameras go away,” she said.

Aurora Police contend the cameras are not just cash cows.

According to city documents, crashes at intersections with the cameras decreased by 26 percent from 2010 to 2012. That data also showed that out of 141 recorded crashes, injuries had decreased by 33 percent at the intersections where the cameras are located.

Earlier in October, City Council voted to renew a two-year contract with Xerox, the company which administers the photo red light system, once the current contract expires next June.

  • Silver Fox

    The cameras work! Just this morning I noticed a fast moving pickup truck decide to stop for a red light rather than “gun it” through the intersection. Why not stop and avoid risking your own life and the lives of others on the road. Make the right decision and stop at the light. The cameras help us all make the right decision.

    • John

      You know what works better, longer yellow lights.

      • Jim Smith

        Incorrect – it’s called the dilemma zone – check it out

      • Frank2525

        You are kidding. Watch those who enter yellow long after light went yellow. Too many impatient drivers, with quick reacting “water bugs” that drive on highway. And no policeman wants to try stopping those drivers in intersections. They like to live to go home when shift changes.

        • ezaspie

          I know I might annoy you often Frank, but now I have a serious question. What is a quick reacting “water bug” that drives on the highway?

          • Frank2525

            Thank you. My opinion on the modern small 4 wheeler cars, with over reved engines, light plastic bodies, that split lanes, change lanes without warning, come up access ramps and enter at about 70 plus on 55mph freeways or highways, then zip across 2 or 3 lanes, and go off exit ramp 1, 2, or 3 exits from where they came on. Freeway I-225 is like that now, with several lanes just widened. Have drivers on there at 30 mph (40 minimum listed) and 80 mph, 55 maximum.
            Have seen police cars a few times, when everyone seems to know the speed limit, but if they stop for accident or arresting someone, it goes crazy again. Have you ever watched the water spiders on quiet lakes or rivers? These folks are more dangerous than bumper cars, since they seldom give warning of what they intend. Thanks for asking. (Note: I have tendency to grab a lane, stay in it, and drive just under 55 mph, and my speedometer has been checked for accuracy. I signal my turns, and slow before I intend to stop. When I get a tail-gater on my bumper, I hit the emergency button to blink all lights, until they back off. I have found, if I speed up (years ago) they speed up, and stick on bumper. By gradually slowing, they finally get the message, and pass.

      • Frank2525

        No. That just means more cars enter the yellow period, to get caught by the red period.

      • Connie P

        I think we should have at least a five second countdown so we know exactly how much time we have before the yellow. We should not have to use the lights that direct pedestrians because the lights don’t always coordinate.

    • das codger

      Silver Fox, if the red light cameras change behavior, why is it even time the police give a presentation on red light cameras they continue to show T-Bone accidents and talk about the people that have received multiple red light camera tickets. [worst case 14 citations to one person]

      • Frank2525

        No one said the lights would cure stupidity, drugs, cell phone talkers, or those who curl their hair, do their lipstick, read a book, or eat cereal. I saw a driver in Oregon, driving on freeway, reading a book at 70 mph few years ago.

  • Retiree

    I got caught by one of those cameras and paid my fine. Some weeks later, on a rainy morning, a yellow light came on just as I was about to enter the intersection. Suspecting a camera would be present, I hit the brakes hard . . . and got rear-ended to the tune of $5000+

    • ezaspie

      Yeah these have proven to cause just as many accidents as they “prevent.” What a joke.

    • Frank2525

      So both of you were driving too fast. Father taught me at age 13 to slow down approaching intersection or railroad track. Get in the gear (manual shift) you intended to go through with, when there, then get he xxxx off or out. But be prepared to stop carefully. Now 85, I have not had that problem except for some who was arguing with wife-girlfriend, or talking on cell phone and oblivious to road ahead. And with automatic transmissions now, don’t even have to sweat shifting. As I posted, I just needed couple seconds more in my hold, before right turn. Still took me 22 seconds for entire turn.

      • ezaspie

        Frank we know you get rear ended all the time… oh wait you meant in a car…

  • Retiree

    “Aurora Police contend the cameras are not just cash cows.” So apparently they definitely are cash cows, but not just cash cows.

  • Cliff

    Why in the world would you not approve cameras at every controlled intersection? Not because of the money so much but because of the lives they save! Red light running is endemic and needs to be stopped!

    • CGUTZ

      Cliff, why aren’t these cameras in the South side of Aurora. 10 out of the 14 are in Ward III which covers Havana > 6th Ave > Airport > Mississippi which is the largest ward of minorities. seems strange to me.

      • Frank2525

        Check out Alameda and Mississippi. Chambers should have more, with constant speeders between Quincy and Smokey Hill Road. And Parker is a real raceway with 4-5 lanes down to 2 each direction, and all the right turn lanes to E-W intersections that are violated all the time, day and night. Vehicles between 40 mph and 70 mph, with 55 mph maximum most of the way. I told Mayor Paul Tauer years ago, when he was still Mayor, I would welcome a speed sensor on every overpass or bridge in Aurora. And I don’t care how much they take in from speeders, and lane changers who harass all drivers on the road. I even got one on north bound Chambers to right turn to Mississippi, when I did not hesitate about 2-3 seconds longer. But I got to see it complete in still photos, and in video on computer monitor and have it saved to my document – photo file. Reminds me to hesitate that instant or two longer. Took me 22 seconds on make stop, pull forward slightly, then proceed to make safe turn. But cost me $75.00 – no points, and will not catch me with that ever again.
        If you want to see quick and regular flashes of those lights, go by Abilene and Alameda on east side of bridge into Aurora Shopping Area. Folks just naturally have to accelerate from stopping on the bridge, to ensure they also can make that light. Will get more dangerous in future with RTD light rail up in shopping area, making more traffic. Every dollar raised in Aurora, reduces need to raise it somewhere else.

        • ezaspie

          The Messiah has spoken. You’re important Frank. 😉

          • Frank2525

            And the ankle biter is still with us? When will you grow up, or won’t your parents let you?

          • ezaspie

            I need to explain. Your opinions are so set, as if you are the
            “messiah” on all, and I don’t think you have the experience to know everything.
            I just want to be all grown up like you Frank. 🙂

          • Frank2525

            There is a difference. I am in conversation, stating my opinion, based on experience. I don’t expect or even want anyone to take that as gospel. I want them to check it out for themselves, and make their own decision, for themselves. We have way too many on net who are wanting to tell us how to live our lives, what we should think and calling us names if we don’t buy it. As I was so happy to pass on to my students, was when one asked a question, another student answered it, another on challenged that, and I was able to stand, watch and listen, and correct if there was problem, that was the day I felt class was progressing. And when it came to equipment training, I told them to read the tech order, discuss it. Work as a team. When on flightline, working on a plane, don’t call me unless they really had a bad problem. I had been there, and gone through it, and “I was not coming out”. Of course, I would if it meant getting that plane repaired, and ready to meet a mission. Same goes here. New idea should lead to self checking, learning. Us old guys are dying off, and where we could work on anything, young folks today cannot even cook their own food.

      • Frank2525

        Also where the accidents are over the years. Such as the illegal alien who ran red light at Mississippi and Havana, took out two vehicles, pushed them through the ice cream place, killing innocent victims. And he had been deported several times before. You really find it strange that traffic specialists with the records put those up where accidents happen, and where police are most in danger, trying to make arrests. Really????

      • Frank2525

        CGUTZ: did you not read the Aurora Sentinel recently. We have whole city of minorities, spread all over the city in every ward, or precinct. Folks from all over the world,. and we have restaurants for all of those pretty equally spread, and near the hock shops, liquor stores, and pot shops. If you don’t have any on your street, contact city developments. They will get some people right out to your area.

  • John

    Every single city that has brought the cameras to popular vote has seen the cameras voted out.

    • Frank2525

      That was then. Now is now. Ferguson, NY City, London, SF, LA are all learning the value of cameras, and police will all be wearing go-pro cameras in future. When cities smell the tax money they can collect, you will be sorry. More so than now, and the day will come with those fines-fees-charges will be extracted from your food stamps, welfare, or other handouts, before you get the remainder. That is if there is any remainder. Don’t you know what government gives, government can take away. AND WILL.

  • V

    If people only knew the power they have. These tickets aren’t legal unless issued in person (Colorado State Statute 42-4-110.5). The manpower doesn’t exist to go door to door issuing hundreds of thousands of tickets within the 90 day limit. I’ve gotten two speeding tickets and one red light ticket and ignored them. Used the peephole to answer the door to only people I knew and, viola, no fines. The system would collapse and go away if all the idiot sheep would do the same.

    • capite censi

      V, you may be right but the City of Aurora doe not bother to send someone to haul you into court, they file a notice of uncollectible debt with your credit report.

      City Council has found that this is the most effective way to get your money, legal be damned.

      • Kevis

        And its an illegal filing if they did not get a judgement thru due process.

        • ezaspie

          This means you can dispute it with the credit agency, but still sounds like a pain. How many hours are you willing to sacrifice to avoid a $75 charge? I think they rely on the inconvenience.

          • Kevis

            You are certainly correct. That is the same thing that petty criminals rely on to steal from you and avoid repercussions…

          • Frank2525

            And you need to ensure no signal light on your vehicles is broken, or you don’t run a red light, or whatever. Any stop for anything, and all of this will flood down on you. When stuff hits the computer, it stays there until removed. Even then is questioned for validity of removal. And traffic divisions are now sharing info with each other.

          • Kevis

            They have something like 90 days to serve you personally or its void per state law. The state doesn’t want the lights, but they allowed the “home rule” cities to put them in, but with restrictions on the latitude they have in using a 3rd party to perform police functions.

          • Frank2525

            Well, my mailed summons was signed by police officer, and it was a female police officer who answered phone when I called. She kept interrupting me as I was explaining who I was and what I was calling about until I told her “to quit acting like a democrat, let me talk a moment”.) I had already pulled the photos (stills and timed video on computer- watching on monitor, showing all cars approaching that intersection, the long trucks that crossed when light changed. I had stopped back of line, then inched forward to ensure right turn was safe, then proceeded. That was where I did not stop couple more seconds, and why it took 22 seconds to make entire turn. So I paid the fine, but will have a definite stop (even if I make two of them) in future. And in this day of Go-Pro cameras, digital cameras, how long will it be, before this younger generation DEMANDS lights? And when you say State DOES NOT want the lights, Just who in the state are you referring to? We saw last year just how fast one-rule party can change any law, if enough money is poured into our state from elsewhere? Even buy a governor, or pass gun control laws, that cause companies and jobs to leave Colorado. With legal drugs, alcohol, no mental cases reported, WE WILL NEED PHOTOS IN FUTURE TO KNOW WHO KILLED US?

          • Kevis

            “who answered phone when I called”

            There’s your problem right there. You acknowledged receipt by calling, thus putting yourself under the purview of that system. If you never respond, ie you never receive the letter etc, unless they personally serve you the summons in 90 days, its done – over – kaput.

            Sometimes you gotta be Sgt. Schultz.

          • Frank2525

            Yep, you are well qualified for army in 1941. Guardhouse lawyer. And that is not a complement.

          • Kevis

            Lol, whatever. I don’t think you actually get the reference anyway. Blunder on.

          • Frank2525

            I got it. Sgt. Schultz always saw, heard, and knew before end of episodes. I saw same in Nevada 1951 (about 6 months in service, made Corporal). Had TSgt where Group Command staff kept notice of promotion from that individual very carefully. Big Surprise when Colonel Johnson called staff meeting, and made very surprise promotion proclamation to that person. He gratefully accepted (with surprise showing). We had coffee and cake, Col. presented handed him set of stripes. When all calmed down, he walked out to car, then came back in wearing a different jacket, with new MSgt stripes sewed on, carrying box of cigars and of candy. YEAH!!!!!! My kind of guy, and I remembered that for these many years. Let others think what they will. I keep my bills paid, CC balance paid in full end of each month, and keep my records clean. When God calls me home, I am ready and will go “with what a hell of a ride”. Go your way, and whatever floats your boat, go for it.

        • Frank2525

          Man, you don’t really want to mess with liberals. With the laws they passed in Colorado last year, we have enough problems. And the Tax and Spend party will not let you skate long.

    • Frank2525

      What will you do when all states do same as Hawaii did years ago. When you have to renew plates annually, they refuse until you pay all pending tickets, with interest. Same goes for the toll roads, owned by foreign companies. Did you not see the listing last year 2013 on those fines, tolls, interest. And if you drive a company car and those costs hit the bean counters, you will be in as much trouble as the student loans, owed to the government. Those never go away, and you cannot die without paying them.

  • Lakewood Ed

    “I have no plans at the moment to run another bill on red light
    cameras,” said Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, who sponsored last year’s bill to
    ban them.

    Why? Because there’s real chance of it passing?

  • AgendaBuster

    XXXXXX

    Listen, and Listen close!
    I do not live in Aurora, my wife works in Aurora. We shopped in Aurora because it was simpler, we live in Fort Collins & commute daily.

    As a result of Aurora red-light cams, we now Do Not Shop in Aurora any more. Never!
    We are beginning to ramp-up an effort to boycott Denver as well. We don’t want to risk the bogus tickets we get at right-on-red situations. We don’t know Aurora intersections as well as a local does, we don’t want to deal with Aurora.

    I’ve began posting cities to avoid in Travel Adviser.com, as visitors look for hotels and restaurants when traveling. I suggest others put the word out, Aurora isn’t a friendly place for visitors. Travelers need to know where to avoid, Aurora is not a good place to be driving, stay out of Aurora. Put the word on the street, Stay Away!

    XXXXXXXX

  • Casual observer

    Once again the decrease in accedents is reported as the result of the photo red light program. Unfortunatlly the Police Department can not furnish data at all 10 intersections of accidents s before the year prior to installing the red light cameras.

    And to top it off, according to the Police Departments own data, accidents in the 10 intersection actually increased almost 8% in 2012 over the number of accident at the 10 intersections in 2011.

    City Council actually voted this year in a study session not to track anymore accident data. A couple of Council Members asked the Police to provide the number and type of accidents in 2013 but this request was rebuffed by the Red Light Camera Advocates.

    Council decided they did not need any additional information on accidents at the 10 intersections with red light cameras because, “The police study tells everything we need to know.”

    Seems to this casual observer that any data that might confirm the assertions of the questionable study the Police department generated from 2010 data [40% of the intersections already had red light cameras in 2010] that showed a reduction in accidents in 2011 from 2010 but also showed an increase in accidents at those same intersections from 2011 to 2012, would not only wished for but should be required.

    Or as Aurora’s City Council, has shown in the past, is content to pain bulls-eyes around bullet holes. And in the case of the PRL program City Council has done so while ignoring that the target is supposedly “safety.”

  • There is no safety benefit from these programs, unless you are talking about the safety of the budget. Then there’s plenty of safety there!

  • Celtic Girl

    Pretty Simple, stop at the yellow, don’t speed, leave defensible space between the car in front of you. Just slow the heck down!!

  • Frank2525

    I have posted quite a bit on this subject, but have a general one for all to think of. Privacy limitations are different for each individual, but I also see advantages for giving up public privacy, while keeping family privacy, very private. Consider that RR track their cars, with fast reading censors set along tracks. And the data stream for each car is recorded. ————Now think of having vehicle VIN data embedded in roofs of vehicles, with those same sensors periodically on highways bridges, overpasses, especially at borders. When people have committed crimes (re: Mother in NJ years ago who drove car into ocean, with 2 small children). Had love triangle mix and it was long time, with police searching for a black kidnapper-hi jacker, until truth was learned. With auto plates – registration connected to VINs, it would have soon been known that vehicle never drove across state lines, and depending on locations of sensors, never on nearby roads, freeways, or highways. Really tighten down search areas. Also would show if vehicle did cross into other states or area. ——– In this day of hi-jackers, criminals, drugs, crime, and attacks, those who bomb, kill, or commit crimes could be found faster, with less danger to public. Just as security cameras on store fronts and on street poles help London Police to find bad people who have committed a crime. ———-Individual people would not lose privacy, unless police or intelligence are looking for them after criminal acts. AND I MIGHT POINT OUT THAT IN SEEING MY OWN VIOLATION ON COMPUTER MONITOR, I ALSO GOT TO SEE OTHER CARS AT THAT INTERSECTION, whose privacy was not invaded, but could be identified. With Go-Pro HD everyone who owns one can invade your privacy, as many of you may do to others also. Think about it. Police do not like to be standing in street with all you dangerous drivers, breaking the law when you don’t think a policeman is close by. I have a few thoughts about you, as I maintain my speed under the limit and stay in my lane. Have enjoyed chatting with all of you, even if you only read my post.