Transportation

Littleton stops red-light cameras

Police chief says results were mixed

Staff report
Posted 8/16/15

Love them or hate them, either way, they're almost gone.

Crews from American Traffic Solutions, which operates Littleton's red-light cameras, were spotted on Aug. 3 beginning to take them down at Littleton Boulevard and Broadway. It could take up …

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Transportation

Littleton stops red-light cameras

Police chief says results were mixed

Posted

Love them or hate them, either way, they're almost gone.

Crews from American Traffic Solutions, which operates Littleton's red-light cameras, were spotted on Aug. 3 beginning to take them down at Littleton Boulevard and Broadway. It could take up to a month to remove all the equipment, according to the Littleton Police Department.

Littleton City Council voted unanimously in March to not renew its contract with ATS, so it ended July 31.

“We think it's been successful in a way, and not as successful as we'd hoped in a way,” Littleton Police Chief Doug Stephens told council at the time.

When council implemented the program in 2009, increasing safety was the stated priority. But data showed injury accidents only decreased at three of the intersections — with the biggest drop at Broadway and Littleton Boulevard — while actually increasing at the other two. Non-injury accidents increased at all of them except Broadway and Littleton Boulevard.

Violations in general decreased from a high of 16,000 in 2010 to 9,000 last year. That meant a couple of things, said Stephens. First, the lights did what they were supposed to do and changed driving behavior. Second, the cost to the city per violation was getting increasingly more difficult to justify, as fewer tickets meant less money to pay ATS.

ATS charged the city per passing vehicle, not per violation, averaging about $650,000 a year. Up until now it had generated some revenue for the city, but Stephens said it would likely have been a deficit this year.

In addition to the actual cost was staff time, because Littleton's policy was for a sworn officer to review every photo. That meant 7,381 hours over the six-year life of the program. Pulling the plug on the cameras means more officers in the neighborhoods and in school zones, and available to address specific complaints, said Stephens.

In June, Gov. John Hickenlooper stopped short of following in Littleton's footsteps. He vetoed a bill that would have banned cameras throughout the state, and another measure that would have required voters to approve use of the devices. Both had bipartisan support.

“While not always popular, when used correctly, radar and red-light cameras make roads safer,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “Unfortunately, these bills go too far.”

He urged lawmakers to introduce legislation next year to limit the use of cameras to school and construction zones and high-traffic areas. He also directed the Colorado Department of Transportation to study the effectiveness of the cameras.

Camera locations

Littleton's red-light cameras have been at five intersections:

• West Littleton Boulevard and South Broadway

• South Santa Fe Drive and West Mineral Avenue

• South Santa Fe Drive and West Bowles Avenue

• South Broadway and West Mineral Avenue

• South Platte Canyon Road and South Lowell Boulevard/West Bowles Avenue

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