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Walnut City Council to Decide Fate of Red Light Camera Program

The Walnut City Council meets at 7 p.m. tonight.

Photo Credit: Google Maps
Photo Credit: Google Maps
Walnut officials will determine tonight whether the city's lone red light camera at the Temple/Grand/Amar intersection will stay or go.

The city's photo enforcement program, which was approved in 2006 and extended for five years in February 2009, is set to expire Feb. 27, 2014.

The Walnut City Council tonight will consider whether to extend its contract with the company RedFlex for another two years, extend it for three months to gather more information, or end the program.

The program costs the city $141,116 annually, $140,016 for RedFlex and $1,100 for providing annual training for the law enforcement technician who oversees it, according to the staff report.

The city estimates it gets around $130,000 in revenues annually, with $63,700 of the money restricted for public safety uses only, wrote Senior Management Analyst Rosalea Layman in a report to council.

Walnut issued 5,033 citations to drivers turning right on red at the two marked corners of the intersection in 2013.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department supports the program and wants it continued, according to staff.

Sheriff's department officials have told the city that removal of the cameras likely would amount to a need to increase police service levels for the key intersection in town at a cost of around $260,659 per year. 

"The Sheriff's Department has also indicated that the cameras have been a great tool in helping to identify suspects and vehicles wanted in non-traffic related crimes," Layman wrote in the staff report. "They have also indicated that due to the size and amount of traffic flow in the intersection, it is very difficult intersection to conduct directed enforcement action near and around the vicinity."

Several California cities have ended their red light camera programs in recent years, including Los Angeles, Pasadena, Corona, Whittier, Pasadena, and Long Beach.

Los Angeles shut down its 32 red light cameras in 2011, citing the difficulty in collecting the fines, CBS News reported. Only 60 percent of those who received the tickets paid the $500 fine, and the city, which couldn't figure out how to enforce them in the courts, estimated it lost $1.5 million a year on the program, the news station reported.

Some opponents argue that the fines can't be enforced legally, a point that proponents dispute.

Mt. San Antonio College students got a warning at the start of the school year when campus officials posted information on the red light camera on its flashing sign at Grand and Temple.

Some heed the warnings and others say they pay it no mind, according to comments on Mt. SAC's Facebook page.

"Rule of thumb nowadays is if you get a red light ticket sent to your home,
dont answer it, dont acknowledge it, act like it never existed, because I heard about that too, that they are going to eventually take them out," wrote Danielle De La Torre.

Others caution against not paying.

"Okay people here's the deal its not illegal first of all or else they wouldn't have those cameras there," wrote Eric Figueroa. "Mt.Sac is NOT the only ones that have these most if not all intersections near a school have it some have it where you can't turn on a red during a certain time frame others have it all day. And as for not having to pay, it gets sent to your home with all the information as soon as they run the plates and if you think of not paying it goes to collections!"

Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Tragarz said at a council meeting last month that the court that serves Walnut is processing the citations.

The council also is expected to look at data regarding accidents at the intersection.

In the seven years before the cameras were installed, the intersection has an average of 5.7 rear-end type accidents per year and an average of 1.4 broadside-type collisions, the most serious variety, according to the staff report.

After installation, the rear-end accidents increased to 8.7 per year and the broadside variety decreased to 1.1 per year.

"Photo Enforcement Programs will typically cause an increase in rear-end type collisions and cause a decrease in broadside type collisions," Layman wrote in the staff report.  "Broadside type accidents are considered to be more severe than rear-end type accidents because broadside accidents have a greater probability of the motorists sustaining injuries as well as increased property damage."

The Walnut City Council meets at 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall,  21201 La Puente Road.
Photoradarscam January 08, 2014 at 09:06 AM
They are correct, you don't have to pay the fines. They can send you to collections but they can't put it on your credit report. A fine that you never agreed to pay is NOT credit nor is it a breach of contract. The city of LA also ended the program because the cameras failed to improve safety. There is no data in the article showing that either. There is also no information about traffic engineering alternatives being tried, like extending yellow light times which has been found to be 100% successful at reducing violations. But I'm sure the council would rather continue to have the money rolling in and working with a company that admitted guilt in a $2M bribery scheme in 2013.
Concerned Parent January 08, 2014 at 09:43 AM
It is so clear, the camera has to go. If our city council keeps it, than someone has his or her hands in profiting from that money losing project. I've never had any tickets there but hate this with all my guts. It does not provide any safety. it does not provide any revenues. Why do we need it? People of Walnut, maybe it's time to fight back?
Vito Spago January 08, 2014 at 09:55 AM
Fight back: Shoot the cameras with a BB gun or subsonic .22. You could hide in that swamp area late at night and have some great target practice.
Me January 08, 2014 at 11:08 AM
The best way of dealing with these unenforceable revenue requests is to ignore them. When this $cam loses enough money the jurisdiction that got in bed with the $cammers will try to jump out soon enough proving that its all about the money.
Concerned Parent January 08, 2014 at 11:12 AM
I am worried that someone is greasing his/her hands by RedFlex known for bribing officials.
Jim January 08, 2014 at 02:21 PM
A red light camera ticket from Walnut or any other city (or the MTA) in LA County can be ignored, as the LA courts do not report ignored camera tickets to the DMV. This was revealed in LA Times and LA Weekly articles. Skeptical? Google: Red light camera no consequence. Also, no matter where the ticket came from, check to see if it is a Snitch Ticket, the fake/phishing camera tickets California police send out to bluff car owners into ID'ing the actual driver. Snitch Tickets say, at the top, "Courtesy Notice-This is not a ticket," and you can ignore them, too! Skeptical? Google: Snitch Ticket. And come to the meeting tonight, if you can.
Larry W January 08, 2014 at 02:46 PM
The current system is flawed. The worst offenders around Mt Sac are kids who run through red left turn arrows, which the current camera doesn't address.
Michael January 08, 2014 at 10:27 PM
Let me test my skill at predicting the future since I'm so damn good at it: the ticket camera will be renewed in a 4 to 1 vote (Eric Ching only voting no). Pacheco, Tragers, Tony & Peggy Su will vote for it- they like the money too much.
Stephen January 09, 2014 at 01:05 PM
Things not mentioned in this article: Total Crashes (which have been known go up). the "broadside" is NOT MENTIONING RLV CRASHES. note many RLC towns intentionally DO NOT bring up RLV crashes, they use "side" or angle to HIDE this. read more: http://banthecams.org/index.php/component/content/article/3-blogs/2170-the-angle-scam-how-cities-use-angle-crashes-instead-of-rlr-crashes-to-manipulate-the-truth www.motorists.org www.banthecams.org camerafraud on Facebook
Joe Estez January 09, 2014 at 08:58 PM
A 4-0 vote to keep them, pending a further study, with Tragars abstaining. That means Ching voted yes. I guess the "prediction" was off. Shocking!
Michael January 09, 2014 at 10:16 PM
Not off at all, delayed until after the election. I guess you can't understand what is happening in Walnut in three months. The calendar in Mexico is the same as California.
Joe Estez January 09, 2014 at 11:25 PM
Funny, I can only go off of what Is posted, which was wrong. Not sure what a Mexico calendar has to do with it. Racist comment?Oh Grabowski!

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