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San Carlos yanks red-light camera
April 13, 2010, 01:28 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff

The city of San Carlos will lose its sole red-light camera in 18 months after the City Council Monday night unanimously agreed that it wasn't needed at the current site and there is nowhere else they want to put it.

The council voted in favor, with councilmembers Andy Klein and Bob Grassilli dissenting.

Not to ignore potential public safety risks, councilmembers were quick to offer up alternatives. Klein suggested a dummy camera -- "We put up fake owls" -- while Councilman Omar Ahmad joked about using a hair dryer to mimic a radar gun.

But the council said their contract with Redflex, Inc. is no joke -- especially when the city is losing more than $2,000 per month on a device that has done little good.

The camera sits at westbound Brittan Avenue and Industrial Road, an intersection that Mayor Randy Royce said had 11 accidents prior to the camera installation and 11 in the 17 months since.

"I was disappointed in what Redflex had sold," he said.

Royce is so disenchanted with the company he successfully amended the motion last night to not only end the contract but ask that city staff try negotiating to end it early.

Klein said he had no problem with the monthly losses if the camera contributed to safety. Police Cmdr. John Reid conceded the camera's removal might add to an uptick in violations but the council continued to look at statistics that showed by October 2009, there were on average only 1.5 violations in a 24-hour period.

The statistic prompted the council last fall to consider moving the camera to Holly Street but Redflex required a three-year contract extension beyond its Oct. 27, 2011 end date. The council pushed off any possible move until January because they wanted to see holiday season numbers. When the figures were crunched again, the violations had gone down to 1.3 -- an overall reduction of 87 percent since the program went live in November 2008.


Michelle Durand can be reached by e-mail: michelle@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.


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