Wally Wonders Why

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Vote YES on Bellingham Initiative No. 2011-01

Some say that traffic cameras are about safety and other say they are about money.  Well at least for the Guide/Telegraph Road intersection near Bellis Fair Mall it is pretty clear now that it is all about the money.   A recent study by Gibson Traffic Consultants concluded the following:

Based on the 5-years of collision data obtained from WSDOT and the City of Bellingham; the collision data does not support the introduction of red-light cameras. Per the ITE collected statistics it only has the potential to reduce at angle red-light running collisions by a less than 1 per year but increase rear ends by an average of nearly 5 per year for this particular intersection.

With no fatalities or injuries related to the at angle collisions but 30 injuries related to rear end collisions it is anticipated that the proposed red-light camera would not reduce the collision/injury potential of the intersection and potentially increase the collision/injury potential at this particular location.

In this well traveled intersection, Red-Light Cameras are expected to increase the potential for injury, yet in an effort to raise revenue for the City of Bellingham, they are installing cameras in spite of making the intersection more dangerous.    You’d think that the City of Bellingham would have done this type of  study before they contracted to install red-light cameras, but they didn’t at this intersection, nor in any of the other areas slated for automated ticketing.

Indeed, the City of Bellingham has sold the safety of those who drive in and around their city in hopes of raising money to fill a budget shortfall.   The people of Bellingham have spoken in the form of petition, yet the Bellingham City Council and Mayor Pike ignored them and entered into a financial contract with ATS.

If you live in Bellingham then I urge you to vote YES on Initiative 2011-01.

Link to more information on the study and the problems with automated ticketing in Bellingham

 

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1 Comment

  1. Bellingham citizens request red-light camera investigation

    Year-long investigation by local sleuths leaves too many questions unanswered

    BELLINGHAM – Saturday will mark the one-year anniversary of the Bellingham City Council refusing to hold a public hearing into the red-light camera program. During that year, the Transportation Safety Coalition has not only been campaigning to prevent installation of the cameras, they’ve been compiling records, requesting documents from the city, and discovering too many flaws to be ignored concerning the safety and policy of the program. They believe that a higher authority should look into their concerns, questions and compiled documents.

    The project to install four red-light and two speed cameras in Bellingham is on hold through mutual agreement between the city and American Traffic Solutions. Now that Initiative results are in, and the community appears to have overwhelmingly rejected the cameras, the local citizen’s group contends the project should be shelved, until questions are answered, and a public hearing is held.

    The group’s concerns include (but are not limited to):

    · The city refused to reschedule a public hearing on the matter as promised,
    · Irrefutable evidence brings into question the legitimacy of all six camera locations. Independent research of one intersection proves that no red-light running collision history exists, and that installation of a camera on SR 539 at Telegraph Road (which already has a high rate of rear-end collisions), will likely increase collisions,
    · The city appears to have put the Bellingham Police Department in charge of the program rather than licensed city traffic engineers, and did not follow recommended guidelines (such as FHWA recommendations) for research or installation of cameras,
    · The city has provided no scientific baseline for the proposed one-year pilot program,
    · The BPD took guidance on safety analysis and public outreach from camera company American Traffic solutions, rather than internal city departments,
    · The removal of public documents from the city website (mysteriously occurring after attention was brought to them) which appears intentionally done to hide content. The mayor’s recorded explanation of this incident seems implausible,
    · Questionable correspondence between ATS and city. The mayor has admitted that Bill Kroske, the ATS project manager who shepherded the ticketing program through the city’s approval process, was “fired from ATS for unethical behavior”. Yet he fails to acknowledge similar improprieties evidenced in 115 pages of correspondence between Kroske and city personal over a two year period which was uncovered through the public disclosure process,
    · No apparent bidding process for camera contract,
    · Documents requested from the city through the Public Records Request Act appear to be missing or deleted.

    “We believe we have documentation that raises too many questions about how this played out behind the citizens’ backs for the last three years,” said Randy Elmore, Bellingham resident and Transportation Safety Coalition spokesperson. “We also want to know who initiated the contract with ATS, and who was ultimately in charge of the project at a management level above the Bellingham Police Department.”

    The group of concerned activists also suggests citizens in all other cities, thoroughly review public records and traffic safety studies, to see if improper activities occurred in their jurisdictions.

    “Though ATS sued the citizens of Bellingham to suppress voter turnout and reduce the relevance of the initiative, the people have sent a message loud and clear that they do not want ticketing cameras installed in the city,” said Elmore.

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