San Diego could say goodbye to red light camera program

Mayor, SDPD chief to discuss program on Friday

SAN DIEGO - Mayor Bob Filner and police Chief William Lansdowne are scheduled to announce Friday whether they will maintain the city of San Diego's red light camera program.

The cameras have been operating at 15 busy intersections for years, but a contract with the private firm that operates them is set to expire Thursday at midnight, and the cameras are set to be shut off.

During the election campaign, Filner said he wasn't in favor of the program as it was set up. His predecessor, Jerry Sanders, declined to bring a contract renewal to the City Council before he left office last month.

Filner scheduled his news conference for N. Harbor Drive and Grape Street, used by some drivers leaving Lindbergh Field for Interstate 5 and by others as a way to depart the downtown waterfront. Long lines form at the intersection's traffic signals, so desperate drivers often try to squeeze onto Grape Street after the yellow traffic signal has blinked to red.

The cameras are designed to automatically take photographs of red-light runners, capturing the vehicle's driver and license plate. Fines are nearly $500.

The intersection accounted for almost 25 percent of the nearly 20,000 citations issued by the program in 2011, according to a report by U-T San Diego. However, statistics show no accidents at the location since 2001, the newspaper reported.

According to the city of San Diego's website, red light cameras are set up at the following other intersections:

-- 10th Avenue at A and F streets
-- Aero Drive at Murphy Canyon Road
-- Camino Del Rio N. at Mission Center Road
-- Camino De La Reina /Camino Del Rio N. at Qualcomm Way
-- Clairemont Mesa Boulevard at Convoy Street
-- Cleveland Avenue at Washington Street
-- Del Mar Heights Road at El Camino Real
-- Kearny Villa Road at Balboa Avenue
-- Mira Mesa Boulevard at Scranton Road and Westview Parkway
-- Mission Bay Drive at Garnet Avenue
-- N. Torrey Pines Road at Genessee Avenue
-- Rosecrans Street at Nimitz Boulevard

Los Angeles and Houston got rid of their red light cameras last year.

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