Speed Cameras On Barton Avenue - And Response (6)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Recently more speed cameras where added in Chattanooga. The newest are on Barton Ave, about a block from my home. I personally feel this is poor public policy on several fronts.

Firstly, as many of us know the lights are maintained by a contractor who receives revenues from tickets. I would say this is at best a clear conflict of interest.

Secondly, the continual video surveillance of these cameras whether or not anyone is actually breaking a traffic law is in my view a clear privacy concern.

Thirdly, from a legal standpoint the citation issued by a camera for speeding is different then one issued by an officer. Several states, including Arizona most recently, have had their cameras challenged on 14th Amendment grounds. To summarize, having two different punishments for the same infraction goes against our most basic rights at the federal and constitutional level.

And finally, the blanket enforcement by these cameras seems heavy handed. Whoever is driving my car, I am responsible for the speeding ticket. Is this really the type of enforcement we as a society are comfortable with?

I raised these issues recently to my District 1 representative, Linda Bennett, and she very promptly forwarded my concerns to John VanWinkle, City Traffic Engineer. He stated that these cameras are only for safety, controlled by the city, and legal. Ms Bennett herself stated that she supports the cameras.

Therefore, it seems that unless we wish to have these cameras continue to be installed and operated, we must voice our concerns and vote accordingly. I urge my fellow residents to call their representatives and voice their concerns over these cameras and to clearly and politely state their opposition to them. I personally will continue to voice my opposition and vote against those in public office who support these mechanisms.

Bob Shearer

* * *

While I am not in a position to argue the constitutionality of speed cameras I do have a problem with the specific camera on Barton Avenue. When driving at night the light from the camera shines directly into the driver's eyes and is a major distraction.

I believe that the supporters of these cameras argue based on safety and decreasing accident rates and it seems that they are bolstered by statistics. The lights on these speed cameras will have the opposite effect. They will likely cause accidents by distracting the drivers.

I urge Mr. VanWinkle to look into an alternative to this distraction.

Kirk Brody, MD

* * *

If you think that these cameras are for safety I have a stimulus package I'd like to sell you.

Robert Harvey

* * *

I will not use Barton Avenue. Tell the merchants in this area, they have lost the taxpayer’s business.

I haven't been in Red Bank since their traffic cameras were installed. This is just another tax, Chat(tax)nooga at its best, tax and spend.

Traffic cameras are about revenue, not safety.

Chuck Davis

* * *

I personally like the cameras. It's almost impossible to obey the speed limit anywhere in Chattanooga. Try driving on the interstate between Missionary Ridge toward town or toward Hamilton Place. You will get run over if you go anywhere near the legal speed of 55 mph.

I live on Missionary Ridge and drive the Crest Road every day. The speed limit is 30. You used to fear for your life when you came around a curve. They posted a camera on a stretch a month or two ago and the difference is wonderful.

Why are all my "God fearin' law abiding" brothers and sisters so opposed to obeying the speed limit laws?

Greg Smith

* * *

Take your opinions to the voting booth, especially those in support of traffic cameras. I am one who has paid a $50 fine to Red Bank and never went back.

If everybody did the same thing it would definitely be safer in Red Bank or anywhere the put traffic cameras.

Richard Sledge

* * *

I was driving home one evening recently and as I came up the hill on Barton Avenue that camera's light momentarily blinded me. I was completely confused.

I think that camera is dangerous and unnecessary. I will certainly not support any council person or official who is endorsing these cameras.

I wonder how liable the city is if a driver loses control of their car and has a wreck when that camera blinds them.

Alison Falinski
North Chattanooga

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