San Diego

Encinitas One Step Closer to Keeping Red Light Camera Program

Encinitas is giving the green light to red light traffic cameras, the cameras that snap pictures of drivers running red lights at intersections.

The city’s Traffic and Public Safety Commission voted Monday to keep Encinitas among the few cities in San Diego County that still use the controversial cameras.

Two were installed in the city between 2004 and 2005.

The City Traffic Engineer's analysis shows that since they were installed, there’s been a 45 percent reduction in accidents at El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard, and a 32 percent reduction in accidents at the El Camino Real and Olivenhain Road-Leucadia Boulevard crossing, the locations of the two cameras.

“I think they’re a great idea,” Encinitas resident Brian Anderson said. “If you can reduce the number of accidents and it doesn’t cost you a lot of money -- just follow the rules.”

The program costs the city $195,000 per year, but those costs are covered by the $250,000 - $300,000 the city says they generate annually.

While cost-effective, some people are concerned about the hazard the cameras create for drivers.

“I’m not real fond of the red-light cameras because I think they’re kind of a hazard. People get self-conscious about it and slam on their breaks," Clint Burkett said.

According to Abraham Bandegan, the City Traffic Engineer, studies show “Because of the cameras there has been some increase in rear-end collisions as well, but the balance is positive toward reducing overall collisions.”

The Encinitas City Council will still have to take a vote on whether or not to keep the cameras for another three-year contract.

Solana Beach and Del Mar are the other coastal cities with red-light cameras. The cities that have ended their programs are San Diego, El Cajon, Poway, Oceanside, Escondido, and Vista.

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