Photo red light cameras coming to 3 Tigard intersections
The City of Tigard is moving ahead with plans to install photo red light cameras along Highway 99W at three intersections — Hall Boulevard, Durham Road and 72nd Avenue — early next year.
On Tuesday, the Tigard City Council, acting as the Local Contract Review Board, approved entering into a $2.1 million contract with Conduent State and Local Solutions Inc. to install the cameras along the heavily traveled highway following a work session on the matter the previous week.
The city has considered using the red light cameras as far back as 2010. Portland, Beaverton, Tualatin and Sherwood already have such cameras in use.
The photo red light cameras also will have the ability to ticket motorists who "speed on green," although officials say that's something they won't activated immediately for the speeding monitoring system, which will only ticket motorists traveling 11 mph or more above the posted speed limit.
Selection of the intersections was based on such factors as traffic volume, violation counts, crash data and citizen traffic complaints.
Tigard Police Chief Kathy McAlpine said photo red light camera vendor Conduent really "wowed" her administrators. She added that the reason for the cameras is an issue of "safety, safety, safety" rather than a revenue generator.
Tigard Police Lt. Mike Eskew, who lead the request-for-proposal committee that looked at a variety of vendors, said once the contract is signed, the city must still get permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation before the signals can be installed since Highway 99W is a state highway.
Other questions that remain include what perimeters to place on determining a red light violation. Eskew said as a police officer, a vehicle that is a quarter of the way into the intersection while the light is already red likely would be a contender for a ticket. Meanwhile, he pointed out that each potential violation must be reviewed by a sworn officer before any ticket could be issued.
Eskew said while Highway 99W at Gaarde Street has the highest number of accidents in the city — 88 between 2012 and 2016 — it did not meet criteria set forth by ODOT, whose guidelines discourage red light cameras installed at recently improved or remodeled intersections.
Still, Highway 99W and Hall Boulevard ran a close second in the number of crashes with 72 recorded over the same time period.
"We think we'll have it up and running no later than February (2019)," Eskew said.
He pointed out, however, that a public education period and warnings will be undertaken before any tickets are issued, saying a 30-day warning period is likely. During that time, the system will be activated, red light cameras will flash and motorists will be notified of the violation but won't be ticketed.
So here's what's planned or anticipated:
n Start-up costs will come from general fund contingency with a total cost of the program expected to be $5 million over five years. That money will go to processing costs, dealing with the ticket volume and personnel associated with red light photo tickets.
n The red light camera program is expected to generate between $6.2 million and $7.8 million in citation revenue over that same time period.
n Tigard's neighbor to the south, Sherwood, installed photo red light cameras in 2011 and over the course of three years saw a drop of 36 percent in photo red light tickets issued: from 17,040 to 10,569.