One of the worst decisions by Mayor Haslam and his administration was the approval and installation of Redflex Red Light cameras. But much worse than that decision was the decision not to change the Yellow Light timing to ensure traffic safety.

Whether this was oversight, incompetence, or greed will be difficult to ascertain. The engineering department of the City of Knoxville has stated it is too expensive to change the Yellow Light timing. Some think it is about the money. The Redflex system has already earned over two million dollars with a portion of that money going to the City of Knoxville.

One man has decided to go over the head of the Haslam administration and take this to the Tennessee General Assembly. That man is Rep. Joe McCord, the Republican from Maryville. Rep. McCord has introduced a bill that will require Yellow Light durations to be set at 5 seconds at all intersections where cameras are set up to photograph motorists.

In a story in today’s News Sentinel McCord was reported as saying, “he has heard reports that the yellow lights on Knoxville's monitored intersections are set at 3 seconds to boost ticket revenue."

Thank you Joe McCord for standing up for the people that have to drive on Knoxville’s streets. The first goal should be safety not revenue.

Rep. McCord’s bill mandates, “that the yellow, or caution, light be set at 5 seconds at all intersections where cameras are set up to photograph motorists. Another portion of the bill would forbid local governments from contracting with private companies to operate red light camera systems.”

Effectively this would end the contract between Redflex and the City of Knoxville.

I wonder if the Yellow Light duration will be changed now? Well Mayor, what do you think?

130
like
Les Jones's picture

Go Joe. www.lesjones.com

R. Neal's picture

I'm sort of ambivalent about

I'm sort of ambivalent about the whole deal. The City of Knoxville says it has reduced accidents at intersections where it is installed, but on the other hand it's another revenue source based on the expectation for people to break the law.

But speaking of McCord, isn't he the guy that got video taped going 100MPH on the Interstate on his way to Nashville?

(link...)

Wonder what's got a bee in his bonnet about red light cameras? Did he or somebody he knows get tagged? Curious that he's interested in Knoxville's business.

Rachel's picture

He has "heard" that yellow

He has "heard" that yellow lights are set at 3 seconds in order to "boost revenue." It might be true, but it sure would be helpful if he stated just who he heard that from.

I just can't get worked up about the red light cameras. I've seen way too many folks running lights and causing accidents. This has apparently cut down on those accidents. And yes, the city is making $$ on folks running red lights. They make $$ on folks staying at parking meters too long too. Frankly, the last pisses me off a lot more that the first. Folks running red lights shouldn't be. If they have to pay a penalty, I can live with it.

Number9's picture

Matter of right and wrong...

but on the other hand it's another revenue source based on the expectation for people to break the law.

I think it is reprehensible. No different than carnies rigging games at the fair. We have laws to prevent this type of rigged games.

You put in Red Light cameras, you make sure the lights are fair. It is as simple as that. Another of the many reasons I will never live in the city again.

Placing revenue over safety shows the ethics of this administration. Before Rachel says it, yes, it is about the motives. And the motives are bad.

metulj's picture

Simple game theory (or so #9

Simple game theory (or so #9 will understand): Under multiple runs of a game, tit-for-tat will always be the optimum strategy for maximization. The city's "this" is a fine for breaking the law, the driver's "that" is breaking the law. I'd like to see the statistics (not the interpretation, but the raw numbers) and if the advent of redlight cameras has decreased accidents (as demonstrated by fewer accidents after the advent weighted for traffic flows correlated to the installation of the equipment), then the city has optimized the game. The digit can now proceed with a nonsense discourse refuting Nobel-prize winning economics and the central tendency theorem.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Number9's picture

When confronted with right and wrong..

The city's "this" is a fine for breaking the law, the driver's "that" is breaking the law.

The butterfly goes to game theory. Very lame considering your considerable talents and knowledge.

But lets use game theory just for fun. If 75% of the cars can not clear the intersection with a three second Yellow Light, or safely stop, during the course of a day, is it a scam?

Is the City now a casino? The house always wins so maybe you are right.

metulj, as a fellow motorcycle rider I am amazed you are defending this. You know how dangerous this is, what gives?

metulj's picture

Gambling is a not a

Gambling is a not a game.

Motorcycles: If you trust lights or other people on the road, you shouldn't be on a bike.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Ennui's picture

I personally loathe the idea

I personally loathe the idea of not being able to face my accuser, as well as the idea of some private corporation getting involved in law enforcement for profit. It seems rife for corruption.

Living in Knox Co, I can attest to seeing the cameras flash at night as people are making legal right turns on red.

Rachel's picture

Umm. Well, the other day I

Umm. Well, the other day I was turning right onto Broadway from Summitt Hill. Light was red; no one was coming. Mindful of the camera, I made absolutely sure I came to a complete stop before turning.

We'll see what happens.

Ennui's picture

Rachel, I've seen that

Rachel, I've seen that particular camera flash during right-on-red before...also on the other direction from Western onto Henley. Hope you didn't get popped. Let us know.

Rachel's picture

Rachel, I've seen that

Rachel, I've seen that particular camera flash during right-on-red before..

If it did flash, and they review the tape like they're supposed to, it will show clearly that I came to a complete stop for about 5 seconds before turning.

So yeah, we'll see.

Amish's picture

What evidence do you have

What evidence do you have that the city has put revenue over safety?

Number9's picture

Well, your Honor...

What evidence do you have that the city has put revenue over safety?

I can count to three.

Andy Axel's picture

And to 20 without removing your socks?

I can count to three.

What a brilliant standard of evidence.

____________________________

Recursive blogwhore.

Amish's picture

I can count to

I can count to three.

Likewise. Honest question: what evidence do you have that the city has put revenue over safety?

If you intended that as something more than a flippant response, can you please elaborate?

Number9's picture

Do you drive in Knoxville?

Likewise. Honest question: what evidence do you have that the city has put revenue over safety?

Amish, count the Yellow Light duration. Many traffic signals in both Knoxville and outside in the County are three seconds and less. Many Green Lights are five seconds and less. This was a problem before the Red Light cameras. I put a hyperlink to an earlier post on KnoxViews. What is the problem? Are you a Haslam supporter? This is common knowledge. At least to people that drive here.

Observation is evidence. If you don't believe me conduct your own test. Do I have to have this certified by traffic engineers? The City engineering department admits it uses the traffic handbook for Yellow Light durations. It is a formula that calculates distance and from that calculates the Yellow Light duration.

Rep. McCord is doing what the City should have done on its own. It is despicable that City government has to have the General Assembly to stop it from creating unsafe traffic conditions to create revenue.

Ennui's picture

Can we not argue that all

Can we not argue that all traffic citations are in fact some form of revenue enhancement? There is the 'fine' portion of the ticket and the court cost, which is assessed on moving violations regardless of attending court to challenge the cite. In Knoxville, you used to be able to get an itemized receipt of your ticket. It came with such gems as the Judge Retirement Fund and the Safety City Fund.

I'm not so naive as to think ticket costs don't go up whenever a pet project needs funding.

Les Jones's picture

Revenue vs. safety

"What evidence do you have that the city has put revenue over safety?"

Jumping in here:

(link...)

"A Texas Transportation Institute study found that an extra second of yellow time added to the current ITE formula yields a a 53 percent reduction in the number of tickets issued along with a 40 percent reduction in accidents."

So if it's true that Knoxville decreased the yellow light time at intersections with traffic light cameras, they have in fact traded revenue for safety.

www.lesjones.com

metulj's picture

False alternatives

"So if it's true that Knoxville decreased the yellow light time at intersections with traffic light cameras, they have in fact traded revenue for safety."

Unless both safety and revenue have increased, which is the city's assertion, it seems.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Amish's picture

So if it's true that

So if it's true that Knoxville decreased the yellow light time...

Right you are, but therein lies the rub. Again, I ask: anybody got any evidence on that?

Amish's picture

Bien, Numero Nueve. Your

Bien, Numero Nueve. Your evidence is personal observation. That answers the question I'm asking.

Follow-ups: do you remember, specifically, which ones are 3 seconds or less? Did you happen to time any of 'em, or are we counting one-Halloween two-Halloween?

Green light duration's a separate issue, I reckon.

I think you're confusing questions with argument, btw. Why the assumption I'm a Haslam supporter if I'm asking for evidence they did fiddle?

Les Jones's picture

But metulj

Where's the city's study? What methodology did they use? I thought you were the stickler for details.

Here's the complete Texas Transportation Institute 136 page study. Now let's see Knoxville's study.

www.lesjones.com

metulj's picture

See above. I agree. Let's

See above. I agree. Let's see their study. I am not an advocate of these cameras at all, but I suggest a re-read of that study (see pages 120-121) as the TTI recommends a series of measures with camera enforcement in the mix. Also, #9 has repeatedly claimed that merely increasing light times by 1 second reduces crashes. This report does not say that, it says increased intervals and enforcement measures reduce accidents not one or the other.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

SayUncle's picture

Alos, I recall reading (not

Also, I recall reading (not sure where) that various studies showing that traffic cameras actually increase accidents were presented to the city.

---
SayUncle
Can't we all just get a long gun?

Number9's picture

It's about the money...

Also, I recall reading (not sure where) that various studies showing that traffic cameras actually increase accidents were presented to the city.

The City has been spinning this for some time. Their thought is that if you prevent the T-Bone accidents then all is groovy. Unless of course you're in a Kia or your Harley is hit in the rear and you are paralyzed or dead.

We all know when someone says it's not about the money, it really is about the money.

Want to know something else that is interesting? Try finding the old articles that talk about how much money Redflex has taken in. It is over two million dollars. You can't find those articles on Knoxnews.com, WATE.com, or WBIR.com.

I wonder if certain persons have been scrubbing Google caches? Haslam owns this one. But like so many other things he will ignore it and get a pass. Unless the General Assembly comes down on him. He is the closest thing to Teflon this town has ever seen.

Rachel's picture

I wonder if certain persons

I wonder if certain persons have been scrubbing Google caches? Haslam owns this one.

What the freaking hell are you talking about? Haslam is sending city employees out to scrub Google caches now?

Good grief.

BTW, I'd still like to know what you heard from CTV.

Number9's picture

Another blogger opines...

More discussion at "Thoughts of an Average Woman" on Knoxville's short Yellow Lights.

Ennui's picture

Rear end accidents, yes

Rear end accidents, yes Uncle.

KTB's picture

The data they don't give you

The data they don't give you is the increased number of rear-end accidents happen at these red light camera interesections because people remember at the last minute they are going to get a ticket if they don't stop.

I'm for increased safety but I think installing red light cameras in the middle of Knoxville's largest construction project when everyone is already frustrated from increased traffic is dumb.

Update: Cross-posted with a couple people, sorry.

KTB

Ennui's picture

Knoxnews has updated the

Knoxnews has updated the article. Margie Nichols says revenue is not the motive for the cameras. Guess we can all rest easy and trust the gummint since they said so.

Number9's picture

Mayor Haslam,

Knoxnews has updated the article. Margie Nichols says revenue is not the motive for the cameras. Guess we can all rest easy and trust the gummint since they said so.

It is clear you are reading KnoxViews today. Would you please fix the traffic light timing in Knoxville to maximise the safety of the people that use Knoxville's roads.

Thanks.

SayUncle's picture

Gambling is a not a

Gambling is a not a game.

Depends on the gambling.

---
SayUncle
Can't we all just get a long gun?

metulj's picture

Not true. It is not

Not true. It is not predictable other than outcomes, i.e. there will be a winner. People confuse probability (see #9) with averages. On average, the person who starts with a strategy of tit-for-tat will optimize outcomes before people who try cooperative-defection strategies first. I imagine your example would be poker, but there is no chance for reward or punishment (other than win or lose) even in Hold 'Em. I'd like to see a demonstration. Bluffing is not tit-for-tat because there is a gap in the information. Even if two players mercilessly bluff each other, the cards are what matters. And that is pseudorandom at best.

If you just go on probabilities alone, the best strategy in hold em is to fold until you get an optimal hand. One of the things not shown on TV tournaments is the interminable amount of folding that goes on. My friend Colin, who has made huge money at hold em, folds nearly 50 times for every hand he plays. There is a reason why poker strategy books always say "for entertainment purposes only." Basically, it is about the ability to work the probabilities of the hands in the long runs, not about anything else.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Number9's picture

You are off course...

Not true. It is not predictable other than outcomes, i.e. there will be a winner.

Back to Yellow Lights butterfly, are you saying they should be three seconds?

What are you babbling about? The losers get hurt or dead. The winners get through the intersection.

Please explain how having five second Yellow Lights is not a great idea.

metulj's picture

See above. You didn't read

See above. You didn't read the study and you misrepresented its conclusions. Typical.

As for what I am getting at with talking about games: the objection isn't about lives lost or saved, it's about people really not liking the idea that there are cameras everywhere. If it were the former, then people would not run lights ever. They don't like that the "that" of the government has no apparent (yet) "this" other than obscuring one's license plate, which is illegal isn't it?

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

SayUncle's picture

You didn't read the study

You didn't read the study and you misrepresented its conclusions. Typical.

Me? I've not read it nor misrepresented it.

it's about people really not liking the idea that there are cameras everywhere

True. But I think it's reasonable to conclude the city put them in from a revenue perspective first and any safety increase was incidental.

---
SayUncle
Can't we all just get a long gun?

metulj's picture

Comment aimed at

Comment aimed at #9.

Revenue: it's probably irrelevant in the long run, and since you give implied consent, well within the rights of the city to do the enforcement (IANAL). Running a red light is always illegal whether or not a cop is present, no?

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Number9's picture

Did I say otherwise?

Running a red light is always illegal whether or not a cop is present, no?

Now you are inferring I support people running Red Lights? Get a grip.

Why is the five second Yellow Light a bad idea metulj?

metulj's picture

I will imply that you don't

I will imply that you don't know how to use the word 'infer.'

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Number9's picture

Cat got your tongue?

Why is the five second Yellow Light a bad idea metulj?

Are we back to game theory?

SayUncle's picture

metulj, i don't think poker

metulj, i don't think poker is gambling but it is a game. Craps is gambling and is also a game.

My friend Colin, who has made huge money at hold em, folds nearly 50 times for every hand he plays.

Plays only online? Send him to my house! If he folds that much, he is posting five big and small blinds per hand played (assuming a full ring). If he plays $1/$2, he must make $15 per played hand to break even. That's not optimal strategy. See Broomcorn's Uncle.

Andy, it is their fault but, particularly at a red light, someone abruptly breaking due to the fear of a ticket is danger.

---
SayUncle
Can't we all just get a long gun?

SayUncle's picture

And, regarding averages v.

And, regarding averages v. probabilities, google emperor's nose.
---
SayUncle
Can't we all just get a long gun?

metulj's picture

Plays in poker rooms here in

Plays in poker rooms here in the City. That's way different from online and you know it.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Andy Axel's picture

Dumbfensive driving is not an excuse.

Rear end accidents, yes Uncle.

And the person following is the person at fault, not the person stopping at a red light (or in the middle of the road for a darting squirrel, for that matter).

____________________________

Recursive blogwhore.

SayUncle's picture

Plays in poker rooms here in

Plays in poker rooms here in the City. That's way different from online and you know it.

It is. But his strategy as described seems to fit tight online players who like to wait until they hit trips or better and push.

---
SayUncle
Can't we all just get a long gun?

Andy Axel's picture

Andy, it is their fault but,

Andy, it is their fault but, particularly at a red light, someone abruptly breaking due to the fear of a ticket is danger.

...which you should always be aware of as the driver in the following car approaching a changing traffic light. Driving is dangerous, period.

That's defensive and not dumbfensive. I don't know about you, but I don't trust turn signals until I see someone commit to the turn. And I never enter traffic immediately on a change from green to red because there's always some NASCAR wannabe giblet-head who's playing by "no cop, no stop" rules.

I'm pretty sure that in Blount County that the law is that vehicles are to come to a complete stop as indicated by a red light, just like it is in the rest of, oh.. the known universe. Libertarian flights of fancy to the contrary, the rules of the road haven't changed because someone has implemented a technological means to enforce said law. I know that the joke (and the practice) has always been that "green means go, red means stop, yellow means go very fast," but you maintain safe following distances and obey the traffic signals while driving. Elementary stuff.

You can't fault the person stopping at a red light for, um, stopping.

____________________________

Recursive blogwhore.

SayUncle's picture

Andy, i'm not disagreeing

Andy, i'm not disagreeing with you on the virtues of good driving. I am saying that someone who may otherwise safely (but illegally) go on through may now be inclined to lock up their car so they don't get a ticket. Not unreasonable to conclude since studies show rear-end accidents increase at lights.

Besides, do you abide by the appropriate recommendations for following distance when you're at a red light? If you do, you and I are probably the only people in knoxville who do. i've seen how these people drive.

And, seriously, you pick now to get all 'personal responsibility' on me? Equally funny after your libertarian snit.

---
SayUncle
Can't we all just get a long gun?

Andy Axel's picture

I am saying that someone who

I am saying that someone who may otherwise safely (but illegally) go on through may now be inclined to lock up their car so they don't get a ticket.

I figured as much, and I don't think it really changes the substance of what I said. Red means stop. I don't see the issue here.

Besides, do you abide by the appropriate recommendations for following distance when you're at a red light?

I do my best to maintain safe following distance every minute that I'm on the road, not just at red lights. I try not to pass on the left. I try not waver in someone's blind spot.

Having initiated a rear-end collision (fiddling with my radio in local traffic in Nashville) and also being the victim of one (in Knoxville on James White Parkway coming into the fast lane of I-40W, no less), it's made me a lot more aware of what's going on around me.

And, seriously, you pick now to get all 'personal responsibility' on me?

Funny, I thought I was arguing in favor of the nanny state: "Big Brother makes you stop on red. So what?"

____________________________

Recursive blogwhore.

SnM's picture

scrubbed caches

I am sure many stories are missing, but this represents about 5 minutes googling for local news stories on the topic at hand. FWIW

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

www3.knoxnews.com/kns/news_columnists/article/0,1406,KNS_359_4534678,00.html

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

Rachel's picture

Goggle caches

I have now been informed by reliable sources that the Haslam administration does not scrub Google caches.

That is City Council's job. I believe it's in the city charter.

Number9's picture

Mr. Mean,

Looked at each of your links. Not a one of them was the article in the Sentinel that reported over two million dollars collected by RedFlex. Where is it?

Refer to today's Sentinel article. Does it say two million dollars collected? No, it gives a much lower number for 2006, and no reporting of 2007.

You do get what I am talking about don't you?

SnM's picture

"You do get what I am

"You do get what I am talking about don't you?"

You are often inscrutable, but I get that, true to your conspiracy-mindedness, you assert that a story was written saying that $2 mil has been collected from the cameras and that that story has done been vanished. And maybe it has, or maybe your memory is faulty, I don't know either way. I just posted the stories I found in a brief search.

But in the spirit of helpfulness, wouldn't the story you remember be linked in one of the many threads you've started on various blogs/message boards? If you could find that dead link, that would go a ways toward establishing that your suspicion is correct.

P.S. This WBIR story

(link...)

projects that the city will collect between $1 and $1.5 mil from the cameras. So maybe they haven't cleaned all the files yet. The truth is still out there.

Rachel's picture

The truth is still out there

Hmmm, sometimes 9 does sound a bit like Fox Mulder...

I'm still waiting to hear what CTV had to say to 9. 9, you're not avoiding the question are you? Surely not; that's never happened before.

Les Jones's picture

metulj:

"Also, #9 has repeatedly claimed that merely increasing light times by 1 second reduces crashes. This report does not say that, it says increased intervals and enforcement measures reduce accidents not one or the other."

Actually, that was me. And the report does say that on page 12.

"Figure 2-4 illustrates the relationship between yellow interval duration and crash frequency. The trend line indicates that crash frequency decreases with increasing yellow duration. ... The trend shown in Figure 2-4 is similar to that noted previously in Figure 2-2 with regard to red-light violations."

Table 2-2 is on page 18 and that's where the 53% figure is shown. It's probably not exactly 53%, but since the study doesn't give the exact number with regards to crashes the newspaper reporter used the 53% figure for red light violations, which the study's authors said was similar.

www.lesjones.com

metulj's picture

Nope. The conclusion say

Nope. The conclusion say timing and enforcement, not timing or enforcement. There's a difference logically.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Mello's picture

read the law

TN code 55-8-110

as with every other state we have lived in- it is not about when you exit the stupid intersection but when you enter it.

KTB's picture

"Big Brother makes you stop

"Big Brother makes you stop on red. So what?"

My complaint is that there are better and safer ways to ensure people are stopping at red lights. Have you ever ended up in your vehicle (traveling the speed limit) and the light turns yellow at a point where you have to either slam on the brakes to stop or slam on the gas pedal to make it through the light before it turns red?

This is common on traffic lights that are timed or lack sensors in the appropriate places. Adding sensors to an intersection greatly improves the safety.

Plus, it takes about $20.00 to create a clear cover for a license plate that makes it impossible for the camera to capture the tag numbers. The problem drivers will be the first to pick up on this.

KTB

Andy Axel's picture

Plus, it takes about $20.00

Plus, it takes about $20.00 to create a clear cover for a license plate that makes it impossible for the camera to capture the tag numbers. The problem drivers will be the first to pick up on this.

You don't watch Mythbusters, do you?

Episode 73. Speed cameras. None of the coverings worked to defeat a camera even when the vehicle was traveling at 150 MPH. Every license tag was perfectly legible.

Although if the cops catch you with a license plate cover that works, expect to fork over a little bit more than $20. Countermeasures like that would make your car not street legal.

____________________________

Recursive blogwhore.

Rachel's picture

Here's my thing

I really don't care that much one way or the other about the cameras. I think legitimate arguments can be made, pro and con.

What really puzzles me, however, is why folks are fighting so hard for the right to run red lights. A person should stop for a red light, camera or no. No matter what the length of the yellow is. No matter how safe it looks to run it.

As for turning right on red, just STOP FIRST. I once was given a ticket by KPD for turning right at a stop sign after a "rolling stop." There was absolutely nothing coming and I could see for over 1/2 mile. But I didn't bitch about the ticket because, even tho I was safe, I still broke the law.

I was pissed at myself, however.

Number9's picture

You are being disingenuous again...

What really puzzles me, however, is why folks are fighting so hard for the right to run red lights.

Not a single person posting here has suggested that. Your implication (happy butterfly?) is disingenuous.

The discussion is about the length of the Yellow Light duration. You can't help yourself can you?

metulj's picture

I never implied that. I am

I never implied that. I am sure, through the lens of your fever dreams, that is the case, but I didn't. The discussion has nothing to do with safety. It has everything to do with people not liking the idea of the cameras. Just admit it. The government has beaten you on this one. Your response is to question some feature of their strategy, not the reality of the cameras. Questioning the features is assenting to the cameras' existence. You've given in to Big Brother. You are complicit.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Number9's picture

Really?

The discussion has nothing to do with safety.

Amazing.

metulj's picture

By arguing the details of

By arguing the details of the lights, you assent to their existence. You like them now. They give you comfort, but only at 5 seconds. I thought you were an Orwell scholar?

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Number9's picture

Consistent from the beginning...

By arguing the details of the lights, you assent to their existence. You like them now. They give you comfort, but only at 5 seconds. I thought you were an Orwell scholar?

My position has not changed one iota. I did not support the Redflex cameras based on safety studies.

If the Redflex cameras were installed I wrote all Yellow Lights should be five seconds with cross traffic held for at least two seconds. Look it up.

The Haslam administration did exactly what I was concerned they would do. Install the system with the goal of maximising revenue at the expense of public safety. Which is despicable.

This was the far bigger issue to me than the Candy Factory or the South Knox Waterfront. But I do enjoy watching the enabling behavior from many of you. It will be interesting to see how Haslam kills McCord's bill.

Leslie's picture

Rolling stop

I was pissed at myself, however.

Ditto. A rolling stop ticket happened to me too, a little over 3 years ago.

I have no problem with the cameras, per se. I have heard people complain - the very first time being (no kidding!) in the grocery store with the man on the phone to his SI saying something like....I got a what? You're kidding?.....No, I want to see that first, don't send it in.

Pretty darn amusing. I knew exactly what he was talking about.

As far as I'm concerned, if the camera makes a driver think twice about darting across a little late on the yellow, that's fine. Just my opinion.

Jack Mehoffer's picture

Senate Bill 666

Nobody has yet mentioned that the Senate bill regulating the cameras is numbered "666".

Senate Bill 666

KTB's picture

"You don't watch

"You don't watch Mythbusters, do you?"

I don't watch TV that much. I do however hang out with engineers, some of whom work at ORNL, and have seen prototypes of devices that can be developed at low costs. I can't say that they have ever been tested, but I'm fairly certain if it were tested it would pass.

KTB

Andy Axel's picture

http://www.usatoday.com/news/

(link...)

Researchers studied the effectiveness of red light cameras in Philadelphia and Virginia Beach.

The Philadelphia study, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an industry group, examined red light violations using a two-step approach. First, researchers found that violations dropped by 36% after yellow lights were extended to give drivers more warning that the light was about to turn red. After red light cameras were added, remaining violations dropped by 96%.

"There's a dramatic change in driver behavior when red light cameras are used," says Richard Retting, senior transportation safety engineer for IIHS. "The jury is in on that question."

The Virginia Beach study, conducted by Old Dominion University, examined signal violations at four intersections before red light cameras were installed, while they were operating and after they were removed in 2005. Violations more than tripled by August 2006.

"That's a huge jump," says lead researcher Bryan Porter, an associate professor of psychology at Old Dominion. "The rate of red light running was actually higher" than before the cameras were installed.

____________________________

Recursive blogwhore.

metulj's picture

Which supports the Texas

Which supports the Texas Study's duration and enforcement recommendation.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

KTB's picture

From the same article:

From the same article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-02-14-redlightcameras_x.htm

"There is a lot of money to be made with them," says Howard Bass, a Minnesota attorney who successfully challenged Minneapolis' red-light camera system in a case that will be argued before the state Supreme Court next month. "Ultimately, this is an issue that may have to be decided in the court of public opinion rather than courts of law. It's a public policy issue of how much surveillance creep we will tolerate in the 21st century."

KTB

Ennui's picture

And from the counterpoint to

And from the counterpoint to that USA today article: (link...)

He says Albuquerque has issued 80,000 $100 citations in the past 18 months. Those fines went directly to the city as civil fees rather than to the state as motor vehicle violations, he says. Payne, a third-term Republican from Albuquerque, says he's also concerned because of studies showing that rear-end crashes rise when traffic cameras are installed, although more deadly side-impact crashes go down.

An increase in rear-end crashes in some communities immediately following the installation of red-light cameras is usually temporary, says Jeff Agnew, spokesman for the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running, an advocacy group funded by traffic-camera firms

Ennui's picture

Best idea I've heard in

Best idea I've heard in either of those articles was the idea to increase the red light in all directions after a change.

Les Jones's picture

Wow

One of the best arguments we've ever had. Thanks to everyone who participated. :-)

www.lesjones.com

KTB's picture

Update from Knoxnews: Red

Number9's picture

Finally...

Mr. Mean,

Please note an anonymous new article, perhaps an editorial, just posted at Knoxnews.com. In it we learn, "In a release, the city noted that the camera-enforcement system installed by Red Flex Traffic Systems Inc. has also recorded more than 62,000 separate instances of motorists running those red lights."

If we multiply 62,000 by $50 per ticket we get $3,100,000. The tally will be less than that due to the warning period at each light but it is still over two million dollars.

So why did the first article state, "Figures from the Knoxville Police Department, read Tuesday to a House subcommittee by McCord, indicate that Redflex got $471,122 from its contract during 2006, while the city of Knoxville got $217,980"?

Quite a difference between those two articles isn't there? Why also the new article that seems to be carrying Mayor Haslam's water so to speak?

It is not so much that Mayor Haslam is made of Teflon as it is the daily paper being his Public Relations firm.

Here is some more good PR, "The city's traffic engineering department determines traffic signal timing based on national standards and the KPD has nothing to do with the timing, according to today's release.

The city has not changed the timing of any of the signals at the intersections where the camera systems are located.

The number of rear end crashes at the locations was also down 1 percent in 2006 from the same time period in 2005."

Everything is wonderful in it's own way. Nothing to see here, just move along.

Like a lot of people there is nothing I have to have downtown. So if the City has so little regard for my safety, why go there?

Rachel's picture

Like a lot of people there

Like a lot of people there is nothing I have to have downtown. So if the City has so little regard for my safety, why go there?

Umm, are you assuming all the red light cameras are near downtown? Not so, grasshopper.

Number9's picture

WATE and WBIR coverage

WATE went out and timed several Red Lights that had Red Light cameras. The results, 4 seconds and 4.09 seconds.

Both WATE and WBIR interviewed Knoxville Police Capt. Gordon Catlett. The most interesting thing Capt. Catlett said was on WBIR when he said the national standard for Yellow Lights is 3 seconds. Unfortunately WBIR does not have this on their website. That would be very interesting if that statement is correct. It may be. That would explain why insurance rates are so high.

The most important safety aspect is that there is NO hold time for cross traffic when a light turns Red. Traffic engineers do not like to be told how to do their business. They are one of the most stubborn group of professionals you will ever encounter. They believe traffic engineering is a science and that no one has any reason to doubt their manuals.

You are probably wondering why the City doesn't tell the traffic department to go to 5 seconds Yellow Lights and 1 or 2 second hold times on cross traffic. The most used reason is that is would cost too much money. The real reason is the concern that traffic would back up. A secondary concern is that is would reduce the revenue from the Red Light cameras.

So what should a Mayor do? This morning Mayor Haslam was on the Hallerin Hill radio program. It was all sweetness and light and you could feel the harmony. Shining City on the Hill and all that good stuff.

CE Petro had a good post on this yesterday. Check out this link on Yellow Light times.

A real world example that illustrates that motorists do not adjust to the yellow light time and begin violating red lights again can be found in Fairfax County, Virginia. The engineers increased the yellow light time on March 26, 2001 from 4 seconds to 5.5 seconds with a result of a 96 percent decrease in violations. To date, there has been no increase in the amount of red light violation For the full story on this, visit this page.

So the question is, Mayor Haslam could improve the safety of intersections by telling the traffic engineering department to increase the Yellow Light duration, why won't he do that? Is this about safety, or money?

R. Neal's picture

City of Knoxville red light

City of Knoxville red light camera statistics:

(link...)

SnM's picture

If we multiply 62,000 by $50

If we multiply 62,000 by $50 per ticket we get $3,100,000. The tally will be less than that due to the warning period at each light but it is still over two million dollars.

So why did the first article state, "Figures from the Knoxville Police Department, read Tuesday to a House subcommittee by McCord, indicate that Redflex got $471,122 from its contract during 2006, while the city of Knoxville got $217,980"?

It's a good question, but as you noted, you don't have all the data. How many of those 62,000 incidents actually resulted in a ticket? And how many of the tickets have been paid? Whether that knocks the tally down to the figures cited in the article, and whether other factors are involved, I don't know. Do you?

And if you don't know, but from your incomplete knowledge your preference is to leap to the assumption that the city, the KPD, the KNS and whoever else have all fudged the numbers and/or conspired to alter previous stories, delete information, hide the files, and cover all the tracks, what does that tell us about you?

Now, again, you could be right. It's possible. But so far, you haven't offered proof. Still, you may have found clues to the vast conspiracy to withold the truth that you are so fervently seeking. Tantalizing as those are, it nonetheless appears that you'll have to keep digging to get the actual evidence to confirm your cityview.

BTW, having doubts about you and your agenda in no way translates to either support of the current city mayor or disagreement with your questioning of the city's motives in installing the cameras (except, I guess, in your mind). The latter, I think, is a valid question to ask. The former...well, if a Madeline Rogero-like person arose to oppose the mayor, I'd vote for her.

But I wouldn't vote for you.

Number9's picture

Mr. Mean,

It's a good question, but as you noted, you don't have all the data. How many of those 62,000 incidents actually resulted in a ticket? And how many of the tickets have been paid? Whether that knocks the tally down to the figures cited in the article, and whether other factors are involved, I don't know. Do you?

well, if a Madeline Rogero-like person arose to oppose the mayor, I'd vote for her.

But I wouldn't vote for you.

Clearly I will have to work harder for your vote. What am I running for?

The answer to the question is simple. In the first article the Sentinel only included 2006 data. There was no 2007 data. The City will probably respond that the data is not yet available.

Did I write that the Sentinel "fudged" the numbers? No, I did not. The point was that the Sentinel for some reason chose to print only the 2006 data. When did the Redflex system go online? Late 2006.

Your defense of all things journalistic is curious. Are you saying that the Sentinel is objective in it's reporting on the Redflex cameras?

I still cannot find the Sentinel article that refers to the over two million dollars collected. Neither could you. It is curious but not proof of foul play. The point is there is a big difference between $471,122 collected and over $2,000,000 collected.

Mr. Mean, do you think the Yellow Lights should be changed to 5 seconds? Or would you prefer they remain the way they are?

SnM's picture

You are probably wondering

You are probably wondering why the City doesn't tell the traffic department to go to 5 seconds Yellow Lights and 1 or 2 second hold times on cross traffic.

Actually, I'm wondering why you can't admit that you don't know how to count to three.

R. Neal's picture

See the stats I posted re.

See the stats I posted re. number of citations, etc. through 12/31/06.

SnM's picture

Thank you, Randy, I had, in

Thank you, Randy, I had, in fact, completely slipped over your post. From a quick glance at the # of citations collected on, it would appear the $$ totals cited in the KNS are accurate.

But I guess, to satisfy the ninentity, we must assume those numbers have been falsified?

Cletus's picture

9

"What am I running for?"

Any chance it is the state line? :-)

"When did the Redflex system go online? Late 2006."

Randy's posted stats show they started working in May. But you've first got to assume Randy isn't part of the vast 'fill-in-the-blank' wing conspiracy and to believe May isn't late 2006.

Number9's picture

Translation?

From the report Randy posted:

Total number of rear-end crashes during enforcement period 2006= 136

Total number of rear-end crashes during same period 2005= 138

Percentage of change= -1%

Total number of rear-end crashes attributed to red-light cameras= 1

136 rear-end crashes and ONLY 1 of them attributed to red-light cameras? Who is the attributer, er decider?

metulj's picture

2 more crashes is well

2 more crashes is well within the standard deviation it seems. But you don't seem to understand those things.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Number9's picture

Not to nit pick

2 more crashes is well within the standard deviation it seems. But you don't seem to understand those things.

It is actually 2 less crashes.

So after all the studies metulj, do you support the 5 second Yellow Light or leaving the lights the way they are now?

Would you support a 1 second hold time on cross traffic or do you think that would back up traffic too much?

metulj's picture

I support the Texas Studies

I support the Texas Studies recommendations which recommend a holistic approach to the problem.

as for one second holds, they are standard where I live, but turns on red are illegal as well (easily the smartest law traffic law).

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

CBT's picture

Did I miss something or did

Did I miss something or did they report revenue (for city and Redflex) after the cameras were installed, but there is no comparison to before the cameras. I'd like to know how much extra money is being taken in after the cameras were installed. Is the city getting $217,000 now, when before red light tickets only accounted for $15,000?

Some critics complain it's just a revenue stream and safety is not the main issue. So, how much did the city's income go up because of the cameras?

SnM's picture

Did I write that the

Did I write that the Sentinel "fudged" the numbers? No, I did not. The point was that the Sentinel for some reason chose to print only the 2006 data. When did the Redflex system go online? Late 2006.

Yeah, yeah, I know. You never, ever make any wild claims or accusations. You just ask questions. Just like you never accused the city of anti-Semitism, just asked if it was. BTW, when did you stop beating your wife? But to the point, if the 2006 data is all that's available, what other data would the KNS use?

Your defense of all things journalistic is curious. Are you saying that the Sentinel is objective in it's reporting on the Redflex cameras?

I'm not defending all things journalistic. I'm questioning your balance. Speaking of, no, I don't think the KNS is "objective" in its reporting on red light cameras. "Objective" is not really a journalistic standard. "Fair and balanced" is. I don't know whether it has been fair and balanced. I don't dispute that the KNS generally goes easy on both sets of govs, never have.

I still cannot find the Sentinel article that refers to the over two million dollars collected. Neither could you. It is curious but not proof of foul play. The point is there is a big difference between $471,122 collected and over $2,000,000 collected.

The point is, I don't know that there was a KNS article referring to $2 mil collected. You believe there is, so it's up to you to produce it. If it's not on line, go to the library and dig through the old issues until you find it. Unless, of course, Ragsdale is in on the conspiracy too, and has ordered the damning library copies destroyed.

Mr. Mean, do you think the Yellow Lights should be changed to 5 seconds? Or would you prefer they remain the way they are?

If there is substansive evidence that changing their cycle to five seconds would decrease accidents, and barring other factors, I have no problem with the change.

CL's picture

IIRC, Redflex gets their

IIRC, Redflex gets their share even if a ticket isn't paid by the car owner.

Andy Axel's picture

136 rear-end crashes and

136 rear-end crashes and ONLY 1 of them attributed to red-light cameras? Who is the attributer, er decider?

Y'know, I'd think that it generally & logically holds that the driver of the following car is intent on running the red light, thereby causing the collision with the vehicle stopping on red. (Stopping on red? What a concept!)

That's the legal standard that the following driver would have to overcome. My guess is that someone paid a lawyer to get out of a traffic ticket, which is how the light was found at fault.

Reviewing the PDF provided by Randy, I guess I'm not surprised that there were about 60 violations per day at Western & Broadway. That's an incredibly busy (and wide) intersection.

____________________________

Recursive blogwhore.

Number9's picture

WBIR working on a story

WBIR is working on a story on the Redflex cameras. If you have had an experience you wish to talk about contact 10News reporter Stoney Sharp. Give him a call in the WBIR newswroom at 637-1010 or e-mail him at ssharp@wbir.gannett.com.

There are also a lot of comments.

knxnicole's picture

Do lawmakers in Blount

Do lawmakers in Blount County ever deal with real problems? How do you know what the motives are of anyone including the city unless you are a mind reader or were in on conversations. If you are against fining people if they break laws because the city gets the fine what do you propose, jail?. The idea is to cut down on people running red lights and putting people in danger of getting killed. It is a real problem. I have lived here ten years and never gotten a ticket for running a red light and I have been going into some of these red light intersections every day since they started. My boy friend has been hit in the drivers side by some idiot running a red light and spent a month in the hospital. The numbers say that this has worked and there are not as many crashes so just who is hurt. Just obey the freaking laws, period. Stop before you turn on red and stop if it turns yellow. If you are near the intersection you have no problem making it on time. As for the timing of how many seconds I have to figure that adding seconds to yellow makes traffic back up. They said they did not change any yellows for this. If it makes money then that is OK. I hope redfex goes broke and nobody runs any red lights and I dont have to worry about getting killed.

Number9's picture

I see now...

The idea is to cut down on people running red lights and putting people in danger of getting killed.

If the goal is safety then why not use the 5 second Yellow Light and 1 second hold on Cross Traffic?

I have a close friend that has had three rear end collisions at traffic lights in the past few years. Perfect driving record but still gets nailed.

Personally I am thankful to any Representative anywhere that will force this issue. Why not confront the issue? This is typical of Mayor Haslam's management style. Get Margie Nichols to explain the excuse reason and then ignore the issue.

Who in this thread is advocating doing away with the Redflex cameras? From the beginning I have written if you do use these cameras at least make the Yellow Light and cross hold times safe.

Sorry about your boyfriend. I have had several times in the past several years I would have been hit by someone running a Red Light. But I wait until they stop or blow through the intersection and if the people behind me blow the horn I ignore them. We can't have a perfect world. If you trust people to stop at the light you do so at your own peril. I create my own hold time. As far as people behind me getting mad, who cares? They feel pretty stupid when they see the other guy run the light.

You don't want to increase the Yellow Light because "adding seconds to yellow makes traffic back up". So your time is more important than other people's safety?

Your time must be very valuable.

The Yellow Light timing was dangerous before the installation of the Redflex cameras. But after the cameras were installed drivers behavior change and made an unsafe condition worse. Many studies confirm increasing Yellow Light duration makes for safer intersections. You are now the first person in this thread to voice concern over traffic backing up. Congratulations, you are unique.

I was wondering who the two people in the poll were that wanted 3 second Yellow Lights.

Rachel's picture

Why not confront the issue?

Why not confront the issue? This is typical of Mayor Haslam's management style. Get Margie Nichols to explain the excuse reason and then ignore the issue.

Dude, do you have any idea how much City Council discussed this before passing it? Did you attend those meetings and/or workshops? Did you let Council know about your concerns?

It's not exactly like Haslam put up the cameras in the dark when nobody was looking.

Andy Axel's picture

Rachel, this is wasted

Rachel, this is wasted oxygen.

#9 believes what #9 believes, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet.

____________________________

Recursive blogwhore.

Number9's picture

Dudette,

Dude, do you have any idea how much City Council discussed this before passing it?

Yes, there was much simulated discussion. There was little real debate.

This is blamed on traffic engineering. It is the same old plausible deniability scheme used over and over. Page 99 on the special handbook.

You know they will NEVER change the Yellow Light duration. The City would lose too much money. Call you friend and ask him. There will be no changes.

Hence, it is both despicable and a fraud upon the people. Mkay?

Rachel's picture

Why do I bother?

Yes, there was much simulated discussion. There was little real debate.

Says you. Council, and all the folks who actually sat through the meetings and workshops, would disagree.

Call you friend and ask him.

What the hell? I'll have you know I have more than one friend - and some of them are shes. :)

Hence, it is both despicable and a fraud upon the people. Mkay?

I do not think you know what the word "hence" means.

You may find the cameras despicable. That's a matter of opinion. Suggesting fraud is a rather serious matter, however. What evidence do you have?

And yes, Andy, I know. But I'm stuck home today with a sinus infection and need to have some fun. I'm just waiting to hear how downtown design guidelines are fascist.

Andy Axel's picture

And yes, Andy, I know. But

And yes, Andy, I know. But I'm stuck home today with a sinus infection and need to have some fun.

Sinus infection, eh? So oxygen is at a premium.

I'm just waiting to hear how downtown design guidelines are fascist.

If this was about the waterfront development rather than red light cameras, you'd have more than your fill by now.

____________________________

Recursive blogwhore.

Pickens's picture

From the executive summary

From the executive summary on the city's budget at the city's website, the total operating budget is over $313 million, the net budget is over $232 million and the general fund budget is over $155 million.

I don't pretend to know the differences in these budgets, but for me at least, the idea that the city is in it for the money at a couple hundred thousand, when that is very little of even the general fund budget, it doesn't pan out.

Rachel's picture

I think I understand the

I think I understand the difference. The net budget doesn't inlcude pass throughs from one dept to another. The operating budget excludes capital projects.

Number9's picture

Slowly and again...

You may find the cameras despicable. That's a matter of opinion.

You are comical. The cameras are a done deal. I do not find the cameras despicable, and you know that. But you persist...

I find it despicable the Mayor's administration will not change the Yellow Light timing and set a new cross hold timing for cross traffic. The redundancy from me is required by you and others who like to play games. What is your goal, to confuse new or casual readers?

Very slowly and again, if it is NOT about the money, the Mayor will have the Yellow Light durations set to 5 seconds or more and will create a new 1 or 2 second hold time for cross traffic.

He will not do that, you know it and I know it. So it IS about the money, and putting money over safety is despicable. In full force the Redflex cameras may bring the City over a million dollars a year. I don't know where it goes, but it must be important or the Mayor would seek a compromise.

Rachel's picture

I do not find the cameras

I do not find the cameras despicable, and you know that.

Actually, sometimes it's really difficult to know exactly what you do mean. This was one of them.

What is your goal, to confuse new or casual readers?

One of my main life objectives, in addition to shilling for Haslam and pushing fascist zoning codes.

Just to refresh my memory, 9 - which city council members voted for the cameras?

And oh yeah, what were those specifics about fraud again?

metulj's picture

#9 loves Big Brother when it

#9 loves Big Brother when it suits him.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Andy Axel's picture

I rest my case.

I rest my case.

____________________________

Recursive blogwhore.

redmondkr's picture

Silly me, I had always

Silly me, I had always thought that the sensible time for yellow light duration should be calculated from average driver reaction time coupled with the speed limit for the thoroughfare being controlled. Having a short red light for all directions would also increase safety but folks are too impatient to tolerate that.

I think, too, that if safety were the top priority as stated, these traffic cams would have gone up in school zones first. Maybe they could slow down some of those speeding school buses.


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JaHu's picture

Nobody has yet mentioned

Nobody has yet mentioned that the Senate bill regulating the cameras is numbered "666".

I guess Satan is letting us know, that he has his grubby little boney fingers in Tennessee Politics. So I ask! If the bill is defeated does this mean Satan has been defeated, being that it is his number and all! or... If the bill is passed, has Satan been defeated? Oh that tricky little...

Adrift in the Sea of Humility

chuck block's picture

dude's a boob, man: Link...

dude's a boob, man: (link...)

Justin's picture

So much for

So much for Mike's..oops...digits "sky is falling!!!!!"

(link...)

(link...)

Very simple: Run a red light you get a ticket. Don't run a red light don't get a ticket. I have yet to see Mikes "proof" that the city of Knoxville lowered the yellow light count to gain more revenue. Stay in Farragut and run all the red lights you want digit boy.

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