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City considers more red-light cameras

By Jimmy Isaac
Oct. 18, 2010 at 7 p.m.

Red light cameras could be headed to three more Longview intersections.

Though some motorists have complained about the cameras since they started going up in 2007, officials say the devices have played a part in reducing traffic fatalities across the city.

Monday, the city's Red Light Camera Advisory Committee recommended adding cameras at:

- Fourth Street at Hawkins Parkway.

- South Eastman Road at South Access Road.

- McCann Road and H.G. Mosley Parkway.

The City Council could finally approve the recommendation as early as Nov. 12.

The committee met once this summer and based its recommendation on traffic surveys from those intersections, Longview Police Department spokesman Kevin Brownlee said.

"There are no immediate plans for the advisory group to meet again since state law only mandates they meet to discuss the placement of cameras at new intersections," Brownlee said in an e-mail.

One existing camera that monitors eastbound traffic on East Loop 281 at Fourth Street has been removed temporarily due to a Texas Department of Transportation project to widen the loop from four lanes to six lanes with raised medians.

Though it was unclear Monday exactly how many cameras are in use on Longview streets, at least six other intersections have cameras. They are:

- Eastman Road at Estes Parkway.

- Judson Road at Hollybrook Drive.

- Loop 281 at Bill Owens Parkway.

- Cotton Street at Mobberly Avenue.

- West Marshall Avenue at Texas 31/Spur 63.

- H.G. Mosley Parkway and Marshall Avenue.

Brownlee has said red light cameras, new medians on Loop 281 and a grant program that pays overtime to officers who spend off-duty time enforcing traffic laws could all be factors in a recent decline in the number of fatal wrecks across the city.

Longview had five fatalities from wrecks in 2009, marking a 69 percent decrease from the 16 deaths recorded in 2007. Brownlee did not pinpoint which of the police department's efforts had the biggest impact on reduced fatalities, but cameras are a factor in Longview's 45 percent drop in traffic collisions citywide over a three-year span, he said.

In May 2009, the City Council extended agreements for six years with Arizona-based Redflex Traffic Systems to operate cameras at Longview intersections. Redflex has contracts with at least 40 Texas cities for the cameras, which capture an image of a vehicle that illegally goes through an intersection when the light is red. The company cites offending drivers.

The city does not profit from Redflex camera citations, Brownlee added. He has said the benefit is increased awareness and safety.



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