Phoenix Red Light Cameras To End Tuesday, But Could Return At New Locations

By Christina Estes
Published: Monday, December 30, 2019 - 8:33am
Updated: Monday, December 30, 2019 - 8:58am

 photo enforcement camera
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
A photo enforcement camera in north Phoenix.

Cameras that catch red light runners in Phoenix will be turned off on December 31, 2019. The Phoenix City Council voted against extending the current contract which includes red light cameras at a dozen intersections, but the cameras could return next year — possibly in higher numbers.

As chair of the public safety subcommittee, Councilman Michael Nowakowksi wants to know how the 12 intersections were picked. 

“Who made the decision of moving those cameras and putting them in those locations that they are and figure out the logic behind it, that there is some type of logic or some kind of pattern there, we should know why, right?” he said.

During a December meeting, Nowakowski told the police and street departments no one’s been able to explain why most of the cameras have been in the same locations since 2015 and why the top ten intersections for serious crashes have no cameras.

“I’m in favor of doubling it or even tripling it as long as it makes sense and as long as you explain to us why those locations and how it’s going to save lives and prevent accidents,” he said.

Executive Assistant Police Chief Mike Kurtenbach told the subcommittee there has between a 57 percent reduction in red light running crashes in the direction of travel that the cameras cover.

“From a police department’s standpoint, whose job it is to ensure safety and security, this is a very meaningful number, especially when you consider that red light crashes tend to be very violent collisions that almost always result in injury,” he said.

After the council voted against extending the contract, Mayor Kate Gallego and three councilmembers released a statement saying the issue will be a priority in the new year with a work study session focused on where the cameras should be located throughout the city. 

While the contract with Redflex ends on December 31, 2019, and the cameras will no longer snap photos, a date for the company to remove the cameras has not yet been determined. In fiscal year 2018-19, the city reported the photo red light and photo speed enforcement program generated approximately $1.3 million from tickets, which covered municipal court and police staff costs and the fee to Redflex.

In 2019, the AAA Foundation found Arizona had the highest rate of red light running deaths per capita, with Phoenix having the most.

Here are the 12 intersections with red light cameras since at least 2015. Three locations had cameras installed in 2009.

  • 12th Street and Camelback E/B (installed in 2009)
  • 16th Street and Jefferson S/B (installed in 2009)
  • 53rd Avenue and Indian School E/B (installed in 2009)
  • 24th Street and Thomas S/B
  • Central and McDowell S/B
  •  67th Avenue and McDowell S/B
  •  35th Avenue and McDowell S/B
  •  50th Street and Ray Road E/B
  • 35th Avenue and Cactus E/B
  •  Tatum and Thunderbird N/B
  •  7th Street and Bell Road E/B
  •  35th Avenue and Glendale N/B

These are the top intersections for serious crashes and fatalities based on research provided to the public safety subcommittee in December: 

  • 27th Avenue and Beardsley
  • 43rd Avenue and Northern
  • 51st Avenue and Thunderbird
  • 27th Avenue and Camelback
  • 15th Avenue and Indian School
  • 16th Street and Broadway
  • Cave Creek and Greenway
  • 67th Avenue and Thomas
  • 43rd Avenue and McDowell
  • 43rd Avenue and Peoria

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