Arlington

Arlington red light camera opponents turn in signatures

Faith Bussey, left, and Kelly Canon prepare to turn in signatures on a petition to ban red light cameras in Arlington on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015.
Faith Bussey, left, and Kelly Canon prepare to turn in signatures on a petition to ban red light cameras in Arlington on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Star-Telegram

After six months of collecting signatures, opponents of red-light cameras submitted a stack of petitions Tuesday calling for Arlington to let residents decide whether to pull the plug on traffic cameras.

Citizens for a Better Arlington, seeking a city charter amendment to ban traffic enforcement cameras, collected about 11,405 signatures, representative Kelly Canon announced at a news conference in front of City Hall.

The group is required to collect at least 9,651 valid signatures, equaling 5 percent of Arlington’s registered voters, before the City Council can be required to put the issue on the May 9 ballot.

“The voters let their voice be heard by signing our petition to ban red-light cameras,” Canon said. “We learned that it didn’t matter which side of the political aisle you were on or which side of the tracks you were from — the desire to do away with red-light cameras was universal.”

If the petitions are certified, the council has until Feb. 24 to place the charter amendment on the ballot.

The council approved red-light cameras in 2007 and has a 20-year contract with American Traffic Solutions to operate the system, which has cameras at 19 intersections. The contract expires in July 2027 but includes provisions that would let Arlington terminate the agreement without penalty with 90 days’ notice, city officials have said.

Violators are mailed a citation with a $75 fine. Half the fine goes to the state. The other half, after expenses, helps support the Arlington Police Department’s DWI unit and pays for 12 patrol officers, officials have said.

The cameras have generated more than $12 million for the city, officials have said.

Arlington police officials say the cameras, which record about 95,000 violations a year, have reduced collisions at monitored intersections by up to 75 percent.

But opponents say they’ve collected data showing an increase in rear-end collisions at intersections monitored by the cameras.

“Our mayor and some on the City Council will tout safety as their primary concern and main reason for keeping red-light cameras in place, yet they refuse to look at the data which proves these cameras make us less safe,” Canon said.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639

Twitter: @susanschrock

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