New red light cameras are up and running

    The City of Amarillo activated seven new red light camera locations on Monday, Feb. 18 (ABC 7 Amarillo - Lia Kamana)

    Green means go, red means stop, and yellow means? It's supposed to mean slow down, but some people often catch themselves speeding through the intersection to make the light. Well, if you are one of those people you have seven new intersections to be extra aware at.

    Monday, Feb. 18, the City of Amarillo activated seven new red light camera locations:

    • Taylor Street and 10th Ave. (Westbound)
    • Interstate 40 and Grand Street (Westbound on North Frontage Road)
    • Buchanan Street and 3rd Ave. (Westbound)
    • Interstate 40 and Grand Street (Southbound on North Frontage Road)
    • Pierce Street and Amarillo Blvd. (Southbound)
    • Bell Street and Plains Blvd. (Northbound)
    • Georgia Street and 26th Ave. (Northbound)

    ABC 7 News went out into the community to get resident reactions to the cameras and while the majority aren't fans of the red light camera program, some did express that if the cameras make the roads safer, it's worth it.

    Tommy Davis was one resident who doesn't love the cameras, but sees their value.

    "I do think there are some intersections where the traffic is very heavy like downtown where people are coming off I-27. Maybe to help them be more cautious, they have to slow down and go through that series of lights," said Davis.

    According to the City's Transportation Superintendent Michael Padilla, the program which started in 2008, was designed for the safety of the public.

    "The objective of the program is to create a safer environment and change the mentality of drivers to know that there are consequences for running a red light," said Padilla.

    Reports from the last decade show rear end crashes have not gone up.

    "We actually work with APD and we use their crash records and reports to work along with our red light camera program," explained Padilla.

    All the intersections in the program were chosen from a citizens advisory board.

    "We took the top 20 intersections over the last three years with the highest accident rates and there was criteria set up by the citizens advisory board, and so intersections were chosen and met based on that criteria," said Padilla.

    Then an engineering study ultimately determined if the intersection was a good fit. Of the seven new intersections, Tenth Avenue and Taylor Street, has the highest accident rate.

    The studies, which can be found on TxDOT's website, also led to the removal of cameras at three intersections.

    • Coulter Street and Elmhurst Road (Northbound and Southbound)
    • Pierce Street and Eleventh Avenue (Southbound)
    • Amarillo Boulevard and Fillmore Street (Westbound)

    "There must have been a good reason why that one was removed over on Coulter," said Davis. "So that does mean that the City must be listening to people."

    The cameras aren't just taking photos anymore, they are also taking eight-to-ten-second videos to show the before, during and after. Folks will also be seeing fewer flashes, as the new cameras are working with radar technology which the city says is more accurate.

    The City also updated the equipment at five existing locations, which brings the total number of red light traffic cameras in Amarillo to 12.

    • Ross Street and Interstate 40 (South Frontage Road and Northbound)
    • Coulter Street and Interstate 40 (North Frontage Road and Westbound)
    • Tascosa/Gem Lake Road and Amarillo Blvd. (Northbound)
    • N. Pierce Street and Amarillo Blvd. (Westbound)
    • S. Taylor Street and S.E. 10th Ave. (Southbound)

    Just like in the past, you can still challenge the ticket if you think the camera malfunctioned. According to state law, revenue received by cities from red light traffic camera programs can only be used for traffic safety programs. Also, the state of Texas receives half of the funds from red light traffic camera violations.

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