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Iowa City council gives green light to traffic cameras

Gregg Hennigan, CR Gazette –


IOWA CITY – A split City Council signaled Tuesday night it was ready to move forward with red-light cameras in Iowa City.

The council voted 4-3 on the first of three considerations of an ordinance that would allow the cameras to be installed. If the ordinance is adopted, the city would then negotiate a contract with a vendor, and that too would have to be approved by the council.

Council members Terry Dickens, Rick Dobyns, Susan Mims and Mayor Matt Hayek voted in support of the cameras. Michelle Payne, Connie Champion and Jim Throgmorton were opposed.

“If it changes the behavior of the way people drive, if it saves one life, it’s worth it to me,” Dickens said.

But Champion questioned whether traffic-enforcement cameras were needed. City staffers have identified 10 intersections for the cameras, and from 2001-10, there were 163 crashes at them caused by red-light violations, resulting in 26 minor injuries and six major injuries.

“I think it would be easier to get struck by lightning than get killed in these intersections,” Champion said.

The council did not discuss speed cameras even though that’s part of the technology Police Chief Sam Hargadine wants to implement.

There are new cameras that use speed and red-light technology simultaneously to identify vehicles that are going to run lights and then preemptively prevent cross traffic from getting a green light.

These cameras would let violators clear an intersection, therefore helping to prevent collisions with pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Hargadine said the council could choose not to enforce speeding violations.

About 10 residents spoke on the issue, and like the council they were split.

Susan Enzle lives in Iowa City and works in Cedar Rapids. She said the speed cameras on Interstate 380 in Cedar Rapids have slowed people down.

Sean Adams-Hiett of Iowa City was concerned installing traffic-enforcement cameras would be a slippery slope.

“At what point does it become too invasive in our lives having cameras watching us,” he said.

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You can complain every which way but loose, or you could just drive the speed limit, and not have to worry about getting ticketed.

i’m pretty sure when Iowa city puts those up, they will use “civil” laws and not crimminal. as a away to get around the laws so they can line their pockets, to justify it as “public safty”
as in Cedar rapids, they call it a cicil penelty, as a means to make money. that way it is very hard to defend yourself.
as in cdear rapids they even as much as say they can’t prove who was in the car, but yet find you lible just for being the owner.
and it s takes them 3 weeks to let you know you owe them, and with little or no proof, they find you liable.
the lwas they use does nothing for PUBLIC SAFTY. under the Cedar Rapids laws,it civil, which means i can have 100 or 1000 of these, and nothing happens to keep me off the road. now if, it they went by D.O.T. laws, after 3 i would be off the road. so, by me getting any, under Cedar Rapid’s laws i can go on and on and Cedar Raids even states, it will NOT affect my driving record. if, that is so, where does the “public Safty” come in.
in the case of Seymour V Davenport. even justice Wiggins has the very same concerns. he even noted it was just a money maker, and has nothing to do with public safety.
i know for one, i will never shop in Cedar Rapids again, now i know how they rob people, and i think Iowa City will be next on my list ( thou i do like to shop in Iowa City). i’m sure other states will accept my money, without any problems

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