More Traffic Light Cameras

Signal LightMore Traffic Light Cameras

The local residents who had problems with cats weren’t the only citizens asking for more city assistance at last week’s meeting.

Long-time resident Anne Kozleski, who recently incurred a bad accident from a motorist who ran a red light, asked that the city pursue action to install traffic cameras at certain key intersections to help crack down on red light runners and speeders.

Kozkeski lauded the city staff for its stanch campaign against motorists who run red lights and drive through town at a high rate of speed. But she argued that on-site patrol enforcement can only go so far.

With the extra eyes associated with traffic light cameras, she believes motorist would think twice about running lights, speeding or driving erratically. She said if motorists know they are going to get cited, it would make a big difference.

She admitted that these cameras have sparked concerns over privacy rights. But since the realities of 9/11, she said people have gotten use to extra security measures to ensure the safety of citizens. “It is worth it if it saves someone’s life,” said Kozleski. “If everyone slows down and stops running red lights, we would be better off.”

The council agreed with her message, but cautioned that they face restrictions along Hwy. 24 “This is a CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) highway,” said Smith.

Still, several elected leaders sought to press CDOT hard on this issue. “Enforcement can only go so far,” said Councilman Phil Mella, in agreeing with Kozleski about the problems in relying on officers to patrol the area on a 24/7 basis.

Plus, the problems appear to be getting worse. Kozleski told the council about details of several additional accidents on Hwy 24. in the last few weeks. The intersections around the Safeway and Wal-Mart shopping centers have posed many problems.

But the pro-traffic light camera bid faces a skeptical attitude by state lawmakers, who are firmly against using these types of devices. During the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers passed legislation to prohibit the use of these cameras, which could result in the issuing of tickets and fines to offending motorists without officers viewing the infractions first-hand. Governor John Hickenlooper, though, vetoed this prohibition bill, making it possible for local entities to install such devices. However, the city would have to work with CDOT, if they want to have cameras installed on U.S Hwy. 24.

Mayor Neil Levy said he would discuss the request with Karen Rowe, the regional director of CDOT. He cautioned that CDOT too often doesn’t take a pro-active stance enough. But he cited this as a serious safety concern.