By Miriam Raftery
September 25, 2013 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon's City Council has given a green light to getting rid of red light cameras, voting on Tuesday to shut them down permanently.
Back in February, El Cajon’s Council voted to temporarily halt using the city’s 10 Redflex red light cameras while a six month study was conducted to see if there was any impact on safety. The cameras have been covered up since February 27.
A staff report recommended that Council close down its red light camera program.
The study found that during the six-month study, there were 39 reported collisions at intersections where cameras had been shut down, compared with 36 at those intersections in the same six-month period last year, up slightly.
However collisions rose by about the same rate at intersections where there had never been cameras, 34 this year and 28 last year. Therefore staff found the increase to be statistically insignificant.
The cameras have long been unpopular with motorists who complain of hefty fines – typically several hundred dollars for motorists caught on camera running a red light or even failing to fully stop while making a right turn.
But far from generating revenues for the city, the system actually cost more than it brought in. In the last fiscal year, 2011-2012, revenue from citations was $360,000, but RedFlex Traffic Systems, Inc. was paid $361,200 plus staff costs of over $60,000 resulted in the city subsidizing the red light cameras at a cost of $62,000.
San Diego and Escondido have already cancelled their red light camera program. Poway, like El Cajon, has shut down its red light cameras for a six-month study period due to end in October.
El Cajon's Council also voted to waive fees for existing merchants under the city's new "deemed approved" alcohol ordinance.