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Red-light camera fines to begin Sept. 1 (Houston)
Houston Comical ^ | 8/8/06 | Alexis Grant

Posted on 08/08/2006 7:08:43 AM PDT by Xenalyte

Running a red light at 10 camera-equipped Houston intersections will cost $75 starting Sept. 1 — and there will be no warning period to get drivers used to the idea.

The Houston Police Department and Phoenix-based American Traffic Solutions are launching a public awareness campaign this month to let drivers know the much-discussed program is finally here.

"Our message is basically be aware," said Sgt. Michael Muench of the police department's traffic division.

"We're hoping that everybody should be watching the red lights anyhow, but this is going to be an added tool for us to try to change drivers' behavior and operate their vehicles more safety," said Muench, supervisor of the program.

When enforcement begins, fines will be issued without a grace period. There was some confusion about whether violators would receive warning letters as part of this month's awareness campaign, but that is not taking place, Muench said.

Warning letters were issued last year to violators during a trial phase of the cameras, before a contractor was chosen.

ATS is airing commercials about the cameras on several local radio stations and developing an educational brochure that will be printed in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

The city will take still photographs and video at the intersections and add 10 at a time until the 50 most dangerous intersections are monitored. Locations are being chosen based on crash data by a committee of representatives from the Houston-Galveston Area Council, Rice University and the HPD Traffic Division.

The police department expects to release the second list of 10 intersections within the next few weeks, Muench said. That list will include major intersections owned by the Texas Department of Transportation, after Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott ruled in late June that the city could install cameras at those sites.

The first 10 intersections have changed slightly since being announced in June. Hillcroft at Westpark has been removed because the intersection belongs to Harris County, not the city. And for now, no cameras will be installed at Bellaire at Fondren and Bingle at Pinemont because construction there is ongoing or planned, Muench said.

Instead, cameras are being installed at Brazos at Elgin, Pease at LaBranch and Hillcroft at Richmond.

The project was stalled at City Hall for months by rejected contractors who said the vendor-selection process was unfair. Further delays were caused by engineering problems, Muench said.

Because the cameras are small and difficult to see, signs are being installed at intersections to warn drivers.

Each camera is mounted on a 20-foot pole built about 50 feet back from one corner of the intersection, said Jim Tuton, chief executive of ATS. The poles have a beige control box near the bottom, a camera about 12 feet up and a flash bulb at the top, he said.

The camera photographs the back license tag, not the driver. So a civil citation will go to the owner of the car and not necessarily to the person who drove through the red light. An owner caught on camera faces a $75 penalty. Getting caught by a police officer carries a maximum $200 fine.

Before camera citations are issued, taped violations will be reviewed by one of two police officers dedicated full time to the project, Muench said.

Critics of the program say it's an effort by the city to raise money. The Police Department says the goal is safety.

At Milam and Elgin, driver Stephanie Rayos agreed better enforcement could improve safety.

Rayos, 28, drives through the intersection weekly. "It's pretty busy here so it would be nice to get some control," she said.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: bigbrother; donutwatch; harriscounty; houston; revenuetickets; texas
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1 posted on 08/08/2006 7:08:47 AM PDT by Xenalyte
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To: Bacon Man; Hap; humblegunner; Allegra; Flyer; Eaker; TheMom; HoustonCurmudgeon; Ditter; ...

Houston red-light camera revenue grab ping!


2 posted on 08/08/2006 7:10:15 AM PDT by Xenalyte (who is having the best day ever!)
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To: Xenalyte
Critics of the program say it's an effort by the city to raise money. The Police Department says the goal is safety.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

3 posted on 08/08/2006 7:11:18 AM PDT by adm5
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To: Xenalyte

ah...Houston, you have a problem.


4 posted on 08/08/2006 7:12:24 AM PDT by From One - Many (Trust the Old Media At Your Own Risk)
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To: adm5

Because as we all know, it's lots safer to slam on your brakes and be rear-ended by the latte-sipping cell-phone-talking no-attention-paying soccer mom in the Hummer behind you than to run the light and get out of her way.


5 posted on 08/08/2006 7:12:55 AM PDT by Xenalyte (who is having the best day ever!)
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To: Xenalyte
an added tool for us to try to change drivers' behavior and operate their vehicles more safety

Sure, thats why the cities always shave a few seconds off the yellow lights at these red light cams intersections...its for the "children".

6 posted on 08/08/2006 7:13:25 AM PDT by Fenris6 (3 Purple Hearts in 4 months w/o missing a day of work? He's either John Rambo or a Fraud)
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To: Xenalyte

Where is a list of all the sites?


7 posted on 08/08/2006 7:13:47 AM PDT by Savage Rider
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To: Xenalyte

As long as the camera works properly, fine by me. Sic 'em. Folks don't have a right to break traffic laws with impunity.


8 posted on 08/08/2006 7:14:36 AM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: Xenalyte; patton

used to have red light cameras here too.
then, just as they were breaking even and actually
making money even, it was decided that they were
illegal. so they were shut down..... sigh...


9 posted on 08/08/2006 7:15:01 AM PDT by leda (Life is always what you make it!)
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To: Xenalyte

They just started this, plus speed cams in Albuquerque. :(


10 posted on 08/08/2006 7:15:42 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Crazier than a rattlesnake at a Thai wedding)
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To: Savage Rider
That would help, no?


11 posted on 08/08/2006 7:15:58 AM PDT by Xenalyte (who is having the best day ever!)
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To: Xenalyte

Go to http://www.highwayrobbery.net/ to see how we fight these tickets in CA. They can often be beat.


12 posted on 08/08/2006 7:18:10 AM PDT by Aunt Polgara
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To: Xenalyte
I saw this on the 10pm news last night. There are more intersections with cameras than are mentioned in this article. Watch out!
13 posted on 08/08/2006 7:22:44 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: Aunt Polgara

That is very handy - many thanks!


14 posted on 08/08/2006 7:29:12 AM PDT by Xenalyte (who is having the best day ever!)
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To: Xenalyte

Yes, it is a very handy website.

My dear husband beat a red light ticket using what he learned from that website. :-)


15 posted on 08/08/2006 7:32:44 AM PDT by Aunt Polgara
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To: Xenalyte
They'd make more money with a red light district camera.
16 posted on 08/08/2006 7:36:25 AM PDT by pikachu (Be alert --we need more lerts!)
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To: Xenalyte

Wonder if Houston will do what Phoenix did, that is to shorten the yellow light interval, which trips the camera sooner to create more revenue.


17 posted on 08/08/2006 7:41:37 AM PDT by DaiHuy (I have never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldn't make it worse)
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To: DaiHuy
Wonder if Houston will do what Phoenix did, that is to shorten the yellow light interval, which trips the camera sooner to create more revenue.

They say not, but I don't know as I believe them.

18 posted on 08/08/2006 7:45:59 AM PDT by Sans-Culotte (I hereby re-christen the Republican Party as "The Flaccid Party")
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To: Xenalyte
Charlotte, NCs fee is only $50 bucks...hard to believe that you are being more constitutionally violated than we are!
19 posted on 08/08/2006 7:46:34 AM PDT by jrestrepo
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To: 1riot1ranger; Action-America; Aggie Mama; Alkhin; Allegra; American72; antivenom; Antoninus II; ...
HOUSTON PING


"This time for sure."

20 posted on 08/08/2006 7:47:11 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: Xenalyte

First Texans let their cops arrest you for the crime of having a drink in a hotel bar, now this. What is it with that place?


21 posted on 08/08/2006 7:48:23 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Don't mix alcopops and ufo's)
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To: Xenalyte

22 posted on 08/08/2006 7:48:38 AM PDT by Vaquero (time again for the Crusades.)
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To: mewzilla
From a city that has them, I have seen them randomly snap snapshots. I was sitting at an intersection and the cameras malfunctioned and took photos of everyone legally going through the intersection.

Also, don't forget, you loose the right to face your accuser...
23 posted on 08/08/2006 7:48:53 AM PDT by jrestrepo
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To: DaiHuy

Charlotte, NC did something like that. What they found is that the intersections with the cameras (minority) were set to a short period of yellow than the others (majority). So logic dictated that they started changing all of them to the short time period as they were serviced...logic at work...


24 posted on 08/08/2006 7:51:38 AM PDT by jrestrepo
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To: Xenalyte

And what happens to all of those Metro buses that are violators? Does the city pick up the cost of those tickets since the owner and not the driver is cited?


25 posted on 08/08/2006 7:53:01 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: mewzilla

Except that (A) such cameras are known to ticket people making a legal right turn on red and (B) sometimes cameras identify the wrong vehicle (I know someone who received numerous tickets for someone else's vehicle which looked nothing like his car).


26 posted on 08/08/2006 7:54:40 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: DaiHuy; Xenalyte
How does the red light camera setup work in Arizona, where you have no front license plates?

Here in Cali, I know the picture has to be of "driver recognizable quality", or the agency won't even mail you the ticket knowing they'd lose, since you don't ticket the car, you cite the driver....with only rear plates, what's the drill??

27 posted on 08/08/2006 7:55:37 AM PDT by ErnBatavia (Meep Meep)
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To: Xenalyte

I guess they just want the money for downtown projects, not the cameras themselves.


28 posted on 08/08/2006 7:55:56 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: ErnBatavia

This is a fine, it isn't a ticket. They are trying to skate by on technicalities.


29 posted on 08/08/2006 7:56:42 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: Xenalyte

In related news, paintball gun sales show an unexpected rise...


30 posted on 08/08/2006 7:56:50 AM PDT by humblegunner (If you're gonna die, die with your boots on.)
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To: jrestrepo

That's okay. Wait until the ATMs are armed and permitted to shoot those they "think" are violators trying to rob the bank.


31 posted on 08/08/2006 7:57:54 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: pikachu

"They'd make more money with a red light district camera."

You'd catch to many politicians and judges.


32 posted on 08/08/2006 7:57:55 AM PDT by dljordan
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To: Sam Cree

Socialist thieving. Lots and lots and lots of public spending.


33 posted on 08/08/2006 7:58:36 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: weegee

How about the off duty police officer in his personal car breaking laws all day long. Will he be held accountable.


34 posted on 08/08/2006 7:58:50 AM PDT by Orange1998
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To: weegee

You mean the Metro buses that burn $$$$$$ driving 2 people around? Time to pony up, Houston. Government doesn't like to be uncomfortably lean in its tax revenue/social services account.


35 posted on 08/08/2006 8:00:08 AM PDT by small voice in the wilderness (Quick, act casual...if they sense scorn or ridicule, they'll flee)
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To: weegee

Please add me to the Houston Ping list, thanks.


36 posted on 08/08/2006 8:02:11 AM PDT by Hydroshock ( (Proverbs 22:7). The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.)
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To: small voice in the wilderness

There are fools who think that Metrorail down Richmond is going to get cars off the road (besides those Metrorail hits).

Well it WILL take Metro buses off of Richmond.

Why don't they put red light cameras on Main Street where the rail is and people are at risk for running red lights.

And in the interest of disclosure, I am affected by several of these lights and will do what I can to avoid any glitches in their latest tax scheme. Chief among those being avoiding those intersections altogether.


37 posted on 08/08/2006 8:04:25 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: Orange1998
Well there was an officer (10 years on the force) who was recently cited for DWI, speeding, and caught with cocaine in his possession.

Odd thing about the mayor's daughter's DWI arrest is that she is 17. I thought that the media always withheld the names of minors charged with a crime. I guess it all depends on who you are, not the crime you are charged with.
38 posted on 08/08/2006 8:06:50 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: mewzilla
As long as the camera works properly, fine by me. Sic 'em. Folks don't have a right to break traffic laws with impunity.

I used to believe that. Problem is the city will deliberately shorten the yellow light to gain more revenue. That causes more accidents and injuries. But hey, whats a few dead citizens when weighed against more money for the city.

39 posted on 08/08/2006 8:06:58 AM PDT by Fenris6 (3 Purple Hearts in 4 months w/o missing a day of work? He's either John Rambo or a Fraud)
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To: ErnBatavia

There are two cameras, one is across the intersection from you, it takes a photo of your face if you are traveling in that direction or your plate if you are moving away from it the other is behind you it take s a photo of your license plate, or your face if you are on the other side of the intersection.


40 posted on 08/08/2006 8:12:19 AM PDT by DaiHuy (I have never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldn't make it worse)
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To: Fenris6

Maybe THIS is their plan for getting people to abandon their cars and ride mass transit.

I will be telling one of the restaurants that I semi-frequent for lunch that I will not be a customer for much longer and that they can tell the city that I told them this is why. I will not risk a flakey system's ticket just to get a meal.


41 posted on 08/08/2006 8:14:36 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: DaiHuy

Gotcha - thanks!


42 posted on 08/08/2006 8:19:40 AM PDT by ErnBatavia (Meep Meep)
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To: Xenalyte

Any sharpshooters handy who can "end" the program? LOL


43 posted on 08/08/2006 8:20:16 AM PDT by Tall_Texan (I wish a political party would come along that thinks like I do.)
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To: Xenalyte; All

civil violations to the owner,

translation- it is 100% revenue generators and NOT safety related.

Since it is the same as a parking ticket and does not affect the license, you don't have any due process rights.


IOOW you don't have due process to the government take money away from you. It is literally taxation without representation.

(where have I heard that before?....)


44 posted on 08/08/2006 8:28:20 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: Tall_Texan

Just start a camera program filming the police in action.

Fox 26 used to do that and get shrugged off by the chief of police.


45 posted on 08/08/2006 8:28:38 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: Orange1998

Want to make a bet the "reviewing officers" have a list of 'do not issue citation' people?


46 posted on 08/08/2006 8:30:44 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: Xenalyte

For a minute I wondered if Mayor White was a Republican would this have been possible. Then I remembered White getting pressure to drop the ideal so he drove to Austin unannounced to see Gov Perry in closed door meeting. After the doors open the program had the green light so to speak. The lines are blurred between Republicans and Democrats principles and the public is wisen up.


47 posted on 08/08/2006 8:31:21 AM PDT by Orange1998
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To: Xenalyte

Uh, what if the owner of the car wasn't driving the car at the time? Do they still get the ticket? Way to go Houston.....I think they may need more Municpal Court space.


48 posted on 08/08/2006 8:34:59 AM PDT by Dawgreg (Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.)
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To: longtermmemmory
If so the information could be attained by Public Information Act.

Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, gives you the right to access government records; and an officer for public information and the officer's agent may not ask why you want them. All government information is presumed to be available to the public. Certain exceptions may apply to the disclosure of the information.

49 posted on 08/08/2006 8:36:08 AM PDT by Orange1998
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To: Dawgreg
I think they may need more Municpal Court space.

It like a parking ticket you do not have due process of law. All the City needs is a larger mail box.

50 posted on 08/08/2006 8:38:02 AM PDT by Orange1998
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