Springs Red Light Camera Program Ends October 31

Colorado Springs has decided to end the red light camera program on Oct. 31.

The city corrected an earlier statement the program would last until the end of the year.

Interim Police Chief Pete Carey told the city council on Oct. 18 that he wanted to end the red light camera program. City council was given the final say in the matter, and decided Thursday that the contract with the program would not be renewed.

The cameras were set up at four Colorado Springs intersections about one year ago. The cameras snap photos of any car that passes the crosswalk or intersection line while the light is red.

It's about as simple as saying cheese: see the flash at one of four intersections in Colorado Springs and expect a ticket.

"If you don't want a ticket, don't run it," said Kevin, a Colorado Springs resident.

The cameras installed at those intersections were intended to make streets safer by reducing red-light running and the kinds of crashes it can cause.

"I'm not convinced at this point it is making our community safer, or our intersections safer," Carey said.

Carey initially proposed pulling the plug on the program during budget talks with city council last week.

11 News looked at the original six-month study performed to determine the cameras’ effectiveness. In terms of revenue, the cameras brought in more than what the city paid to operate them at all four intersections netting more than $175,000 in that time.

Carey said Tuesday the force can serve the city better by pulling two officers who review the photos and putting them back on the streets.

"On a daily basis we have lots of opportunities where we can have more impact on community safety by having more officers out there," Carey said.

CSPD also currently operates a photo radar van to reduce speeders around schools, parks and construction sites. That van is expected to stay in operation.

The cameras are located at:

Northbound Nevada Avenue at Bijou Street
Eastbound Barnes Road at Oro Blanco Drive
Westbound Platte Avenue at Murray Blvd
Westbound Platte Avenue at Circle Drive

The city says data shows the cameras impact on traffic safety varied widely. While there were 30 percent fewer red-light running violations overall, there was a 22 percent increase in violations by northbound vehicles on Nevada Avenue at Bijou Street.

“The photo red-light enforcement program did not meet our expectations," Mayor Bach said. "It is as simple as that. If a safety program can’t be shown to improve safety, it ought to be stopped.”

Ending the red light program will free up 2.5 full-time employees for reassignment. The interim chief says this will be helpful because of the need for manpower on the streets of Colorado Springs.