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L.A. Gives Green Light to Adding Red Light Cameras at 22 Locations

October 17, 2006|Patrick McGreevy | Times Staff Writer

Citing some success with a program that has used cameras to catch motorists who run red lights at a handful of Los Angeles intersections, city officials on Monday identified 22 additional locations where the system will be expanded.

The City Council's Public Safety Committee signed off on a tentative list of new intersections based on where the most violations and traffic accidents occur, but was told that some might change if problems are identified.

Ten other city intersections that already had cameras under an old contract are also getting the new equipment. Seven of them are back up, and the other three are being restored.

"We went for the most dangerous intersections in the city," said Capt. Kevin McCarthy, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Emergency Operations Division.

New cameras will be installed by the city by October 2007 as part of a $15.5 million contract with Nestor Traffic Systems Inc., which is providing high-resolution digital video pictures of motorists and their license plates.

A previous system by another company did not provide photographs of sufficient quality. As a result, about half of the citations were thrown out by prosecutors and courts, although the first program nevertheless reduced violations and accidents at many of the intersections. "Photo red-light saves lives," McCarthy said Monday.

Six other intersections that had cameras under the old contract are being dropped from the program, some because they are no longer considered a problem, said Glenn Ogurao, a manager of the city Department of Transportation.

But Councilman Jack Weiss, chairman of the council's Public Safety Committee, said the 32 intersections getting cameras in the next year will not be the end of the program's expansion.

"Red light cameras are proven public safety winners, and in the coming years I hope we will see dozens more intersections receiving coverage," Weiss said.

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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