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Traffic Camera Plan in Works for Thousand Oaks

October 11, 1999|JOSH KARP | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Thousand Oaks city officials are focusing on a plan to place cameras at intersections, in an effort to discourage motorists from running red lights.

The cameras would snap a photo of a vehicle's front and back license plates and record its speed. The information would be sent to police.

The city has earmarked more than 10 intersections for cameras. Among them are Moorpark Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Westlake Boulevard and Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Lynn Road and Hillcrest Drive, and Ventu Park Road and Hillcrest Drive, Sheriff's Sgt. Claude Robillard said.

"Those are very complicated intersections, with controlled left and right turns," said Sheriff's Cmdr. Kathy Kemp, who functions as the Thousand Oaks police chief. "Having an officer set up to work the red light and pursue the violator can create almost as much potential for an accident as can the violation itself."

And some drivers aren't particularly patient drivers, officials note.

"People generally run red lights intentionally," Robillard said.

That problem was magnified last October, when a truck heading south on Avenida de Las Flores ran a red light and slammed into a pickup truck, killing a passenger, Robillard said.

The cameras can be expected to cut collisions 40% to 50%, said Robillard, who has looked at similar systems in Oxnard and Ventura.

The city began exploring the idea about a year ago, Robillard said. But starting the program is far from a done deal. The city plans to study camera systems and find out what the public thinks.

A question related to the issue was included in a city survey sent out Friday to 25% of the households.

"It can be controversial," City Manager MaryJane Lazz said.

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