Posts Tagged ‘Red light camera’

Vote YES on Bellingham Initiative No. 2011-01

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Some say that traffic cameras are about safety and other say they are about money.  Well at least for the Guide/Telegraph Road intersection near Bellis Fair Mall it is pretty clear now that it is all about the money.   A recent study by Gibson Traffic Consultants concluded the following:

Based on the 5-years of collision data obtained from WSDOT and the City of Bellingham; the collision data does not support the introduction of red-light cameras. Per the ITE collected statistics it only has the potential to reduce at angle red-light running collisions by a less than 1 per year but increase rear ends by an average of nearly 5 per year for this particular intersection.

With no fatalities or injuries related to the at angle collisions but 30 injuries related to rear end collisions it is anticipated that the proposed red-light camera would not reduce the collision/injury potential of the intersection and potentially increase the collision/injury potential at this particular location.

In this well traveled intersection, Red-Light Cameras are expected to increase the potential for injury, yet in an effort to raise revenue for the City of Bellingham, they are installing cameras in spite of making the intersection more dangerous.    You’d think that the City of Bellingham would have done this type of  study before they contracted to install red-light cameras, but they didn’t at this intersection, nor in any of the other areas slated for automated ticketing.

Indeed, the City of Bellingham has sold the safety of those who drive in and around their city in hopes of raising money to fill a budget shortfall.   The people of Bellingham have spoken in the form of petition, yet the Bellingham City Council and Mayor Pike ignored them and entered into a financial contract with ATS.

If you live in Bellingham then I urge you to vote YES on Initiative 2011-01.

Link to more information on the study and the problems with automated ticketing in Bellingham


Another thought or two on Red Light Cameras

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Habitual running of red lights and speeding through school zones is dangerous, no doubt. But if paying a traffic camera fine takes the place of traffic cops and judges, then the fines become just another sin tax. How many people really quit smoking because it cost too much?

And like other sin taxes, if people really quit running reds and speeding, or whatever the taxable sin might be, wouldn’t the tax revenue dry up?   The City of Bellingham has budgeted continuing income from the cameras so they must be expecting the red light running and speeding to continue for at least the foreseeable future.  So really, by not actually getting dangerous drivers off the road and merely deriving an income flow from them, isn’t the City just selling peoples safety to fill a budget line item?

People say that because these tickets will not be on your actual driving record, then you insurance rates won’t be effected by them.  Insurance companies already look at several factors that aren’t dings on a person’s driving record such as age, sex, marital status, credit rating and distance to and from their job.

Parking tickets represent a relatively benign act while the acts caught by automated traffic cameras generally represent a dangerous situation.  Call me a cynic, but I think that if a vehicle registered to me starts racking up red light camera tickets, my insurance company would find a way to cover their risk by increasing my premiums or canceling my policy.

I don’t want to blog I told you so, when somewhere down the line another life is taken at an intersection and we find the driver has a nice stack of red light fines on their “vehicles” record.

Cat Poop Variation

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

In struggling to understand the whole “net” safer concept proposed by red light camera advocates I came up with the cat poop analogy which I think brings the concept down to a more base level that may be easier for some to understand.

I happen to  have a backyard that is filled with so much dog poop that it is a dangerous to walk across the lawn.    Now one day a young man named Pan Dike (no relation to Pan Peter) came knocking at my door with an offer to help me take care of my dog poop problem.  His proposal he explained, would reduce my chances of stepping in  dog poop  and at the same time provide a little income for both he and I.  Really?

Where’s the catch I asked?  And young Pan showed me a report from a study of his proven system that not only would benefit me with regards to poop, but paid him a tidy allowance of which he was willing to share.  Seeing the disbelief in my eyes, he showed me a study of 7 homes  in my neighborhood as proof that on average owners were 24.6% less likely to step in poop.  And he reminded me that it wouldn’t cost me a penny to try.  Being the greedy and gullible schmuck that I am, I bit on his poop proposal like a two for a dollar Snickers sale.

Arriving home after a long day of work I decided to slip out and enjoy my now much safer backyard.  What the heck! I looked down to see that I had stepped in poop.  What happened to my 24% reduction in dog poop that Pan Dike had been promised?  It was then that I perceived the subtle difference in odor.  I didn’t own a cat, but I had just stepped in cat poop.

I took a closer read at my con-tract as I dialed Pan’s number.  As it turns out the shyster was going throughout the neighborhood picking up dog poop just like he said he would, but he was also dumping  cat poop from his litter box cleaning service out in it’s place.

How does that make my backyard safer?  Well you see said young Pan Dike justifying his smelly deed, even though there may be just as many poop piles in your backyard, you are 24.6% less likely to hit dog poop and cat poop you see, it’s smaller and therefore less likely to be stepped in.  So even though you still have a yard filled with poop piles you are in fact 9.9% “net” safer than you were.  It’s kind of like when they install those red light cameras causing tail end accidents that are “net” safer than  the T-bone collision they used to have more of.