Dear members of Toledo City Council,
Today you are scheduled to vote on installing another 11 red light cameras. All of you say the cameras are for 'safety' at the intersections. However, no traffic engineering studies have been done to determine the safety issues at the various intersections or the potential solutions to the safety issues. In fact, per the statements at the committee meeting yesterday, the locations of the cameras, as determined by an Arizona firm are based upon "likely" red light violations - not even actual ones! You've not even identified how many red-light violations or accidents have actually happened at these intersections. Councilman Rob Ludeman asked that you "begin" to keep records on the safety issues, indicating that you currently do not have them in your possession.
If these intersections are so "unsafe" that you need to install a camera, aren't they "unsafe" enough to justify an examination of the intersections to determine what makes them so unsafe? And also to know the various solutions?
Since you don't know why they're unsafe, you cannot say that a red light (or speed camera) can make them safer. It may be, as other cities have found, that a red light camera makes them MORE unsafe (increased rear-end accidents).
Please - if you are serious about the safety and not just interested in the revenue - please insist upon a traffic engineering study to find out what the 'problem' is that makes these intersections so unsafe before you implement a 'solution' that may make things worse.
I received only one response, from Tom Waniewski:
Hi Maggie –
Thanks for the email. I always appreciate your perspective and subsequent comments.
I think your arguments are valid ones, and the request is fair.
You may recall in 2008, when a batch of the cameras were being added to the city landscape, I argued that flashing yellow lights should be placed in areas alerting motorists that the light is about to turn red. The Trail’s camera is a good example. Of course this did not happen because of the additional cost. There is no cost for these cameras to us. The other point that concerns me is that there is no good recourse for someone to challenge there ticket. While that may not be an issue on the red lights (you can see the car in the intersection when the light is red), it is for speeding.
Given a chance to actually PROVE the cameras are for safety and not just revenue, Council failed. None of them raised the issue, so obviously they don't care. They've found a source of money to fund an unnecessary expenditure and so they don't have to cut.
They don't have to risk anyone getting mad at them while they watch the city decline.
As with all the other cameras in the city - as well as across the nation - as people get used to the cameras, the revenues decline. Eventually, the city will be faced with no money to cover all their little pet projects and then what will they do?
They're just making the situationw worse - and it's nothing to be proud of.
The big question is this: will the voters ever get a clue and actually make a change?
My husband has long said that Toledo is like a drug addict who hasn't hit bottom yet to know he needs to change.
Are we at rock bottom yet?