CLEVELAND - The city of Cleveland will soon be installing more than three dozen additional red-light cameras at key intersections over the next year.
The new red-light camera contract with Xerox State & Local Solutions Inc. was approved by Cleveland City Council, even as state lawmakers consider potential legislation that would ban the controversial traffic enforcement cameras.
Cleveland Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland voted in favor of the additional cameras, and told NewsChannel5 they have had a big impact in improving safety.
"I support the use of the cameras. In fact, one of the newer cameras is in my ward, near the intersection of East 55th and Woodland, which is one of the most dangerous intersection in the state of Ohio," said Cleveland.
Cleveland Councilman Jay Westbrook also supported the new red-light camera contract. Westbrook told NewsChannel5 significant traffic data was used to identify where the new camera's should be placed.
Westbrook pointed to statistics that show the number of red-light camera violations have dropped by nearly half in the past year. Westbrook said he believes a reduction in violations prove the cameras are working.
"The driving conduct has changed dramatically, the streets are much much safer, the incidents of accidents have dropped considerably, and the incidents of violations have also dropped," explained Westbrook.
Westbrook said he also believes the cameras are perfectly legal.
"All of the civil protections are in order, there's advanced notice that the cameras are there," said Westbrook. "Secondly, there is due process. Anyone feeling that they got a violation inappropriately they can file an appeal."
Meanwhile, a bill currently being considered by the Ohio House of Representatives transportation committee could place a ban on the cameras. Some civil rights advocates call the cameras a revenue generating scheme to help support cities facing heavy budget cuts.
Still, Cleveland Safety Director Martin Flask maintains approving additional red-light cameras is the right move.
"They are legal. It's been upheld through the court of appeals, our program here has been upheld here locally," said Flask. "The legislature will do what the legislature thinks is appropriate, but in the meantime we have a responsibility to our community and we're going to follow through with that."
The city of Cleveland issued the following list of new camera locations and instructions:
• Woodland Avenue @ E. 55th
• Harvard Avenue @ Lee Road
• Orange Avenue @ E. 30th
• Chester Avenue @ E. 105th
• St. Clair @ E. 152nd St
• Kinsman Road @ E. 93rd St
• Lee Road @ Miles
• Stokes Blvd @ Cedar Avenue
• W. 25th St @ Clark
• W. 65th St @ Clark
• I-490 @ E. 55th St
• Pearl Road @ Denison Avenue
• Broadview Road @ Brookpark Road
• St. Clair @ E. 105th St
• Woodland @ E. 30th St
• Lorain @ W. 65th St
• Broadview @ Spring Rd
• St. Clair @ E. 55th St
• Puritas Avenue @ W. 150th St
• Martin Luther King Jr Drive @ E. 105th St
• E. 156th St @ Waterloo Road
• Neff Road @ E. 185th St
• Lakeview Road @ Superior Avenue
• E. 105th St @ Superior
• E. 124th St @ Superior
• E. 55th St @ Broadway Avenue
• All the Photo Enforcement fixed pole camera sites will have video surveillance.
• The existing photo enforcement sites will all be upgraded to the new technology that will allow for video surveillance.
• The field of view of the cameras will cover the intersection and portions of the sidewalk.
• We will be able to monitor the video feeds during special events and normal operation hours. Video can also be reviewed for post-incident reconstruction of an event.
Mobile Speed Enforcement Cameras
• The City of Cleveland currently operates 6 mobile speed enforcement vehicles. These vehicles have been deployed in school zones, areas of high accidents, side streets, major thoroughfares and council/citizen areas of concerns. The mobile vehicles had limitations due to the size of the vehicle, its ability to be able to park at a location and the hours of operation.
• In the new contract the City will be utilizing 15 new mobile photo enforcement Portable Camera Units that will be placed on a trailer. The Portable Camera units will be towed to various locations by the Bureau of Traffic and can remain operational for a period of up to 14 days as a stand-alone unit. The portable units will replace the mobile speed vehicles as they will be decommissioned once the trailers arrive.
• There will be a 30 day warning period once the fixed cameras are installed and the Division of Police, Traffic Engineer and Department of Public Safety have signed off on approval of the site. A press release will be issued informing the public of the new site and the start of the 30 day notice period. After the 30 days, the camera will begin issuing citations.