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Knoxville City Council eyes red-light cameras

Motorists in the City of Knoxville may need to be wary the next time they try to beat the yellow light at busy intersections.

A contract between the City of Knoxville and Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. to provide automated red-light enforcement system has been sent back to workshop for further discussion by City Council Thursday, Nov. 3.

The contract was negotiated by the administration after an evaluation committee recommended Redflex over five other firms that responded to the City’s request for proposals.

Members of the evaluation committee were Don Green, Knoxville Police Department; Ernie Pierce, Traffic Engineering; Marilyn Roddy, City Council; and Jim York, Finance Department.

Farragut business woman Barbara Pelot, city councilman, District 2, sat on the Residential Neighborhood Traffic Safety Committee that looked at several traffic calming solutions including red-light enforcement cameras.

“This is a matter of public safety,” Pelot told farragutpress in a telephone interview from her Farragut office. “This isn’t for revenue generating, the people need to understand that, this is about public safety.”

City planners said in a public statement that one of the largest causes of serious injury traffic collisions in the City of Knoxville is related to red light running. In addition to instituting significant engineering measures and additional enforcement, the City believes that automated enforcement is an effective supplement to existing City resources and these systems have proven to reduce red-light violations in other cities. The ultimate goal of this program is to reduce the number of collisions and injuries at signalized intersections.

Redflex Traffic Systems supports contracts in more than 70 cities world-wide, in 10 countries and is the largest provider of digital photo enforcement programs in North America, supporting more than 60 cities across 13 states.

One issue that surfaces during talks about red-light enforcement is the question of whether the device violates privacy issues.

Currently in Las Vegas, Nev., red-light enforcement devices are installed at intersections but not used as the battle over privacy wages.

Pelot said in the case of Knoxville, vehicles would be cited and not individual drivers.

In addition, Sharon Boyce of the City of Knoxville Law Department said that there are no state laws prohibiting the use of camera/radar equipment on city-owned streets, but state permission would have to be obtained to place the equipment on state-owned streets, such as Kingston Pike. She further stated that her research revealed court actions against systems where citations were written by contractors rather than law enforcement personnel.

Pelot added that the tapes from City devices would be turned over to the Knoxville Police Department for review and the issuance of citations.

Pelot said installation costs for the devices would be absorbed by the company and that the company would take a percentage of the citation fee; in other words the violator would bear the burden of the cost.

The City issued a request for proposals in April for a turnkey digital-only red-light photo enforcement program to cover up to 15 intersections.


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