Phoenix Red Light And Speed Cameras To End Dec. 31

By Christina Estes, Steve Goldstein
Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 11:01pm
Updated: Friday, November 22, 2019 - 1:17pm

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 photo enforcement camera
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
A photo enforcement camera in north Phoenix.

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, Phoenix will no longer have red light and speed enforcement cameras.

It was a typical item on Wednesday's City Council agenda with an unusual result. The council was asked to extend the current contract up to a year so staff could complete a new request for proposal, but the vote failed 5-4.

The current program includes fixed red light cameras at 12 intersections plus speed enforcement units that can move around school zones. Councilman Michael Nowakowski said he voted against the extension because he never got information he asked for months ago.

“I think our staff needs to do their homework, they need to come to this council a year prior and not come to us at the eleventh hour and force things down our throats,” he told KJZZ after the meeting. “I want to make sure that we’re doing the right thing and we get a full report of where the accidents are ... we’ve just got to make sure we have all the data and then we have to keep our staff accountable to that.”

Last April, as Chair of the Public Safety Subcommittee, Nowakowkski asked the police department to work with the streets department to determine where additional cameras might be needed and report back. Also at that meeting, Councilwoman Thelda Williams expressed interest in adding cameras. She repeated the request during September’s Transportation Subcommittee meeting where Councilwoman Laura Pastor seconded a closer look.

Adding cameras at intersections would require a change to city code. There is no current timetable for council to address the issue. Unless the council takes action, the current program will end December 31,

The remaining votes against the contract extension included Councilmen Sal DiCiccio and Jim Waring who have opposed the program during their tenure. Two other no votes came from new members: Vice Mayor Betty Guardadao and Councilmember Carlos Garcia. Both declined to comment after the meeting.

A City Council report from the police department said from Sept. 1, 2009, through Sept. 30, 2018, Phoenix has generated $7,062,885 from 205,384 school speed and red light citations.

Earlier this year, the AAA Foundation found Arizona had the highest rate of red light running deaths per capita with Phoenix having the most.

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