County's speed cameras might go

Huckelberry wants to end contract as drivers slow down
2013-05-18T00:00:00Z 2013-05-18T20:31:47Z County's speed cameras might goJoe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry wants to pull the plug on the 11 speed cameras installed on county roads.

The county's top official says he will recommend that the Board of Supervisors not renew the contract with Tempe-based American Traffic Solutions when it expires in December.

The five-year contract has generated more than 100,000 tickets, but the number peaked in 2010 as drivers learned to slow down in the busy traffic corridors.

"The number of citations have dropped dramatically (since the cameras were installed,)" Huckelberry told an audience of 50 residents attending a budget hearing on Friday.

"Our contract with the company runs out in December, and it is very likely we are going to recommend that it not be renewed."

The number of citations dropped 38 percent between the 2009 and 2011 fiscal years, according to county documents.

Huckelberry said the unpopular installations have largely served their purpose, forcing drivers to slow down on their daily commutes.

For example, the cameras reported that drivers on Valencia Road near Cardinal Avenue slowed down, on average, by 7 mph from when the cameras were first installed in March 2009.

The number of fatal crashes has also declined by 48 percent during the same time, with zero deadly accidents due to excessive speed last year.

"This is a significant, positive trend," Huckelberry wrote in a memo late last year.

The cameras never led to a large injection of revenue into the county's general fund.

While the fines for speeding citations run into the hundreds of dollars, depending on how fast you're going, by the time state surcharges are deducted and the company providing the cameras takes its cut, the amount the county gets is minimal.

"The amount that trickles down to the county is typically 10 or 20 percent," Huckelberry said. "We don't make a lot of money."

One analysis by county officials suggests the figure could be as low as $17 per citation after state-mandated payments and expenses are taken out.

Huckelberry conceded during the meeting that he knows first-hand how much a speeding ticket costs - although he didn't say whether the ticket was generated by a speed camera.

Despite Huckelberry's negative attitude about the cameras, opponents will have to wait and see what develops when the issue is brought before the board later this year.

Speed camera sites

Where Pima County has its 11 speed cameras operating:

• Alvernon Way south of Ajo Way.

• La Cholla Boulevard north of River Road.

• La Cholla Boulevard north of Ruthrauff Road.

• Mission Road south of Irvington Road.

• River Road east of Country Club Road.

• Ruthrauff Road west of Romero Road.

• Ina Road east of Wilmot Road.

• Swan Road north of River Road.

• Valencia Road east of Wilmot Road.

• Valencia Road west of Camino de la Tierra.

• Nogales Highway south of Hermans Road .

Tickets issued

2009: N/A 2010: 48,956

2011: 38,317 2012: 33,878

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@azstarnet.com or 573-4346.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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