Houston Community News >> Houston to Install 10 Additional Red Light Cameras
9/23/2006 Houston-- A city contractor is installing red-light cameras at another 10 intersections around the city, including at several state-owned roads, Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt announced Thursday. Hurtt said the cameras will begin operating in about a month at:
- East Freeway at Uvalde on the east side,
- FM 1960 at Tomball Parkway in northwest Houston and eight locations on the southwest side:
- the West Loop at Westheimer
- the Southwest Freeway at Chimney Rock
- the Southwest Freeway at Fountain View
- the Southwest Freeway at Westpark
- the Southwest Freeway at Hillcroft, Gessner at Beechnut
- the Sam Houston Parkway at Beechnut
- the Sam Houston Parkway at Bissonnet
Those cameras will begin photographing vehicles that run red lights in about a month, Hurtt said.
The photo-enforcement systems have been helping police nab violators at 10 other locations since Sept 1. Nearly 700 civil citations, which come with a $75 fine, were mailed to violators during the first two weeks.
The latest list of camera locations includes intersections with roads owned by the Texas Department of Transportation. The intersections monitored now are all city-owned streets. Attorney General Greg Abbott ruled recently that the city can install camera technology at TxDOT roads.
That ruling allows the city to use photo enforcement at some of the most dangerous intersections in the city, Hurtt said, which likely include those with more crashes than at intersections in the first group.
During the first week, cameras snapped photos at those intersections, the most violators, 147, were caught at Richmond and Dunvale, Houston police reported. Following close behind were the intersections of Pease and La Branch, Bellaire at Wilcrest and Bay Area Boulevard at El Camino Real.
HPD has not released newer intersection-specific data.
About 1,730 incidents were caught during the first two weeks of operation, police said. After the vendor, American Traffic Solutions Inc., reviewed the images and removed the unclear ones, the company sent 1,040 violations to Houston police. Traffic officers then reviewed the photos and sent 695 citations to violators.
Most of the dismissed violations were thrown out because the driver was making a turn while running the light. The city ordinance that permits red-light cameras prohibits citations to violators who turn, though that was not the intention of the City Council, which approved the ordinance in late 2004. City officials are reviewing the ordinance for possible revision to close the loophole.
The city eventually plans to use camera enforcement at 50 intersections. The sites are being chosen based on crash data.
(Contributed by Alexis Grant of Houston Chronicle)