Oak Ridge votes to stop red light cameras

Oak Ridge votes to stop red light cameras

Posted:
Oak Ridge is putting a stop to red light cameras in their city. Oak Ridge is putting a stop to red light cameras in their city.
Oak Ridge installed red light and speed cameras at major intersections five years ago. By the end of April, they'll be a thing of the past. Oak Ridge installed red light and speed cameras at major intersections five years ago. By the end of April, they'll be a thing of the past.

 By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

OAK RIDGE (WATE) – Oak Ridge is putting a stop to red light cameras in their city.

In a four to three vote Monday night, City Council chose not to renew their contract with RedFlex traffic systems.

Oak Ridge installed red light and speed cameras at major intersections five years ago. By the end of April, they'll be a thing of the past.

"There's not been an issue that we've heard more input from citizens on than this one and the overwhelming majority of people want them gone," explained council member Trina Baughn.

Baughn was one of the four votes against extending the contract. People we spoke with were thrilled with the council's vote.

"I'm glad they're getting rid of them, they're a hassle," said Jimmy Douglas of Oak Ridge.

Roger Stooksbury lives in Clinton, but drives through Oak Ridge on a regular basis. He's had three tickets in the last year.

"It's the best thing they ever did," Stooksbury said of the council's decision.

According to statistics provided by Redflex, the contractor for the cameras, accidents have decreased.

Their data compares the accident statistics from prior to the cameras to today.

At the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Lafayette Drive, crashes decreased 33 percent since the inception of the program. At the intersection of Illinois Avenue and Robertsville Road, crash levels remained the same.

Council member Charlie Hensley voted 'yes' at the meeting to look at extending the contract. Hensley said he was on the fence about his vote but he voted yes to continue the discussion.

"I think they're clearly reduced the speeding in our city and I'm afraid taking the cameras away will bringing back some of those problems," Hensley said in an interview over the phone.

Loudon County resident Gabe Antrobus said he too is happy to see the cameras go but realizes they are effective.

"I always stop at yellow lights in Oak Ridge, you definitely don't want to speed here," Antrobus said.

In Knoxville, statistics have shown crash rates have also been reduced because of the red light cameras.

"Since 2006 we've seen a positive impact not only on the violator rate being reduced at these locations but also the accident rate," said Captain Gordon Catlett of Knoxville Police Department.

Last year, total crashes in Knoxville were down seven percent. But Captain Catlett says the cameras work in Knoxville because the people here still want them.

"If enough people wanted them gone they'd be gone," Capt. Catlett said.

Oak Ridge officials are now looking to see what other things they could do once the cameras are gone.

"We have alternatives, we do have some issues, some speed issues, every city does, but with the revenues we've received from these cameras, we can now implement permanent, less divisive," said Baughn.

According to Redflex in the five years the cameras were in use, the city of Oak Ridge received nearly $350,000 which been allocated to improvements, making roads safer for drivers, pedestrians and other road users.

The cameras will stay in effect until April 21, but you will still have to pay those tickets up until that date.

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