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Salem considers red light cameras, again

Posted by Justin Rice  March 21, 2012 07:03 AM

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During a hearing tonight, a Salem City Council subcommittee will once again take up the issue of whether or not the city should monitor red lights and stop signs with cameras.

The Committee on Public Health, Safety and the Environment will meet at 6:30 p.m.in the City Council chamber.

A home rule petition for the so-called traffic control signal violation monitoring system, or red light cameras, was passed by the city council in 2007, but it failed in the Legislature.  

The cameras can take photographs of a car’s license plate after it runs a red light.
 
“As you know, a common quality of life and safety complaint in Salem is speeding and inattentive motorists on city streets,” Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll wrote in a letter to the city council on Feb. 9. “Despite efforts by the Salem Police Department, traffic in providing an increased level of public safety at some of Salem’s most dangerous traffic intersections, at little or no cost to the City of Salem. This self-funded system is one way to provide the Police Department with a new efficient tool aimed at keeping our roads safe for vehicles and pedestrians.

“Upon initial examination, the implementation of such a program offers real public safety benefits that are consistent with our efforts to increase efficiency in the delivery of city services. Camera photo enforcement should be particularly helpful in Salem, as we are a visitor destination that is impacted by more traffic than many surrounding communities. Clearly, traffic associated with Salem State University, the regional court system, tourist sites and other institutions provide an increased amount of motorists within city borders. As a result of these and other factors, the Police Department is supportive of red light cameras.”

Driscoll said the money brought in from traffic tickets will pay for the program.


Justin A. Rice can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com.

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