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January 15
1875 - Henry Mayo Newhall buys western half of the Santa Clarita Valley for $2 an acre [story]


City Council To Look At Red Light Camera Renewal In MarchCaltrans has established new rules for setting yellow-light times for red-light cameras around Los Angeles County.

The new ordinance requires yellow-light times to be set according to the actual speed of traffic and not what the posted speed limit says.

“Santa Clarita has had a policy for the last 10 years for being above the minimum Caltrans Uniform Traffic Control Devices Manual-required time of 3 seconds,” said Mark Hunter, a city transportation planning analyst. “The updated manual will only affect us a little, mostly having to do with left-turn lanes through intersections.”

Santa Clarita hired an independent consultant last February to sample left turns at 15 to 20 intersections to see if distances fit well with the allotted time the yellow light gives drivers to get through an intersection.

“Right now, extended yellow time is 3.5 seconds for the majority of protected left turns, and we did increase a few to 4 seconds to see what effect it would have,” Hunter said.

The intersections tested are Bouquet Canyon Road and Newhall Ranch Road, Newhall Ranch Road and Mcbean Parkway, and Soledad Canyon Road and Whites Canyon Road.

The McBean-Valencia intersection was also increased 1 full second from 3.5 to 4.5 seconds.

Early results of the test show a decrease of 70 percent in generated tickets, and the city lost $8,000 due to tests on yellow-light times, Hunter said.

The private consultant should be finished with its report and have official results next month.

Since the cameras were installed, the yearly average of broadside crashes are down 60 percent, injuries related to crashes are down 10 percent, and there have been no fatal collisions in any of the intersections since installation.

There are currently seven red light cameras in the city at the intersections of Lyons Avenue and Orchard Village Road, McBean Parkway and Valencia Boulevard, McBean and Magic Mountain Parkway, McBean and Newhall Ranch Road, Bouquet Canyon Road and Newhall Ranch Road, Bouquet and Seco Canyon Road, and Soledad Canyon Road and Whites Canyon Road.

“The city is still above the minimum, but we are trying to be more proactive, and if there is anything we can do to enhance safety, we will do that,” Hunter said.

 

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90 Comments

  1. Sabrina Laprade says:

    This is an interesting article, seeing as how the tickets received in the mail are ‘voluntary’, and not legally enforceable.

  2. THANK YOU!!!! It’s so annoying to hit every light!!!

  3. The tickets received in the mail from these cameras are ‘voluntary’, and not legally enforceable.

  4. Steve Rogers Steve Rogers says:

    @Sabrina…
    What is your source for them being ‘voluntary’ and not legally enforceable?

  5. @Sabrina….not voluntary….mandatory! My source, CHP.

  6. Chris Brewer Chris Brewer says:

    Every one can be beaten in court if you fight it. Ask for the officer that witnessed it happen and wrote the ticket to appear in court. Chances are, the ticket was processed outside of Santa Clarita. If so, it’s an illegal ticket. This being based on a bunch of info I’ve read fe lawyers regarding these stupid cameras.

  7. Tom says:

    Sabrina is correct. You do not have to pay these tickets. People think that they can be attached to your credit report, but they can’t. One, it has to be proven that the driver is the registered owner. By ignoring the ticket, this can never be proven. There is no evidence anywhere that these tickets have been attached to a credit report and a lien issued to make you pay it. It can not go on your driving record either because again, the court has to know who the driver was.

    I have gotten a couple of these tickets and I will say I never paid them. I have gotten NO collection notices and my credit is fine. My driving record is still spotless.

    CHP will tell you to pay them because they cannot be ethical in telling you not to. But they no the truth also. Even LASD knows.

  8. Mary Cain Mary Cain says:

    I beat my ticket, but not by ignoring it. That will just get you in more trouble. Acknowledge the ticket or you’ll be sorry.

    • msc545 says:

      No, you will not be sorry. I have ignored two so far and will continue to ignore camera tickets are they are illegal and thus unenforceable. Both tickets were issued to me for making legal left turns in intersections that didn’t happen fast enough to suit the machine. If I ever actually run a red light, something which I have never done, I will pay the ticket. Until that happens the City can go to hell.

    • Actually a lot of ppl do just ignore the tickets and nothing happens. Lol they dont come after you.

      • msc545 says:

        Actually, if you in any way acknowledge that you might have been the driver or even show up in court for these kinds of tickets, you may just talk yourself into a hefty fine. Do you like paying $ 500.00 for making a legal left turn ? If not, throw the ticket away. There is nothing they can do.

    • Mary Cain Mary Cain says:

      Yes they do, it’s called collections.

    • Mary Cain Mary Cain says:

      Yes they do, it’s called collections.

      • msc545 says:

        Which means nothing, since it doesn’t appear on any of your credit reports. I know this because I checked mine – I’ve ignored two of these camera trap tickets, and there is nothing on any credit report. For each ticket, I got one collection letter and that was it. those were also put in the trash.

  9. Brian Durand Brian Durand says:

    I like what Chris said

  10. Peter Temm Peter Temm says:

    The purpose of these red light cameras is to generate revenue and has nothing to do with public safety

    • Dena Jones Dena Jones says:

      Then why would they change the timer on them? It says they lost $8,000

      • msc545 says:

        Apparently they were testing to see what would happen if they increased the yellow light time, in response to a new ordinance. The article doesn’t say WHAT ordinance, or who passed it, so I am not sure what the city did in testing this was compulsory or not. The story lacks a lot of important details.

        I am, however, pretty sure that they didn’t expect to see a 70% decrease in tickets as a result of changing a few signal times, but there it is. I wonder if they will comply with the ordinance, or just quietly go back to shorter yellow lights and more tickets ?

  11. I ignored two and they said nothing to me when i eas arrested recently so obviously they dont care that much

  12. I ignored two and they said nothing to me when i eas arrested recently so obviously they dont care that much

  13. I ignored two and they said nothing to me when i eas arrested recently so obviously they dont care that much

  14. msc545 says:

    “Early results of the test show a decrease of 70 percent in generated tickets, and the city lost $8,000 due to tests on yellow-light times”

    Proving that the majority of camera tickets were in facts issued to people in the middle of LEGAL left turns in the intersections.

    Now take the damn cameras out and let’s be done with the City trying to defraud its residents by issuing unnecessary, unenforceable tickets.

  15. msc545 says:

    The thing that keeps these cameras going, aside from the greed of the City and the company that runs the cameras, is the ignorance of people that believe that the tickets cannot be ignored. In fact, as the advice of my attorneys and my own experiences tell me, they can be safely ignored and should be. If enough people do this the cameras will come out.

    • Leon Worden says:

      But you’re making an excellent argument for keeping the cameras. Send tickets to ignorant people (your term) who just might pay them. The portion of the revenue that goes to the city helps pay for the parks & programs we all enjoy. Who better to pay for those things? And if people drive a little better along the way (which they do), what’s the harm? :)

      • msc545 says:

        It really is not a good argument to keep them. What the city is doing is dishonest, and taking advantage of people’s ignorance is simply wrong. People do not drive better as a result of the cameras – instead, they slam on the brakes to avoid camera tickets and rear-end collisions are the result.

  16. Robert says:

    So how about using the traffic loops and not a timer. Right now the way the traffic lights are set is frustrating. No opposing traffic but a long red light for dozens of parked cars.

    • msc545 says:

      I think you mean traffic circles, not loops. Not sure about others, but I think those things are dangerous and hard to use.

  17. These are illegal to begin with!

  18. I noticed one of the cameras was knocked down on whites cyn n Soledad 2 days ago .

    • msc545 says:

      Good. Now hopefully the company that owns it will remove it.

      • SCVNews.com says:

        Please note that if you see someone’s face on their post, their comment is getting sucked in from our Facebook page. They probably didn’t bother to click to read the story (otherwise they’d know you don’t have to pay red-light camera tickets), and they will NEVER see your reply, if you comment here directly.

  19. Wait so if I try to get pass a yellow light I’m going to get a ticket? Are you kidding me? :p

    • msc545 says:

      Yes, isn’t that nice? It’s called GREED. drive carefully, and ignore the camera traps, which is really what they are.

  20. That one on the mcBean/Valencia intersection is a scam! That damn camera gets me everytime cuz the yellow light is so short! Costs me thousands of dollars. Shame on you traffic cam scams!

  21. That one on the mcBean/Valencia intersection is a scam! That damn camera gets me everytime cuz the yellow light is so short! Costs me thousands of dollars. Shame on you traffic cam scams!

  22. RMG says:

    How exactly does one determine that the reason there have been no fatal accidents in SCV intersections since the camera were installed are related? Do they have magic?

  23. The SOURCE of the info that you can ignore these tickets, in chronological order:

    Two articles in the LA Times
    Two press releases by the LA Superior Court
    Followed by multiple articles in LA Weekly and local TV network outlets

    Skeptical? Search: Red light camera no consequence

  24. James Farley says:

    I eagerly await the yellow light timing study by contractor Kimley-Horn. It should resolve once and for all what the correct left turn yellow duration should be.

    There are actually 10 through-ways with cameras at the seven intersections. I did a study of all accidents at these intersections from 2001 to June of 2012. While broadside collisions are down they are offset by the fact that rear end collisions are up by 48%. It must also be noted that there were no fatalities at these intersections in the three years prior to cameras. The cameras are given too much credit in reducing accidents. Accidents are also reduced through proper engineering. We don’t need camera enforcement to reduce accidents.

    • msc545 says:

      Agree completely. I think the only question is what the City and the camera company might try to do to avoid having to increase those yellow light times. After all – it is going to cost them so much money that the cameras will no longer be profitable. This entire thing is nothing but a fraud perpetrated on people who apparently don’t know their rights.

  25. They used to be voluntary when LA County first dropped the contract company they were using Cuz my brother got one right after LA County didnt renew the red light camera contract but shortly after Santa Clarita re-upped and they are not voluntary any more

  26. msc545 says:

    This really amounts to the City perpetrating a fraud on it’s citizens, and it is reprehensible.

  27. James Farley says:

    There is a lot of momentum for this program to end in 2015. More is being learned by folks throughout the nation about how companies like Redflex have used the flaw in the MUTCD regarding left light yellow timing to shake down safe drivers. Our city is taking a serious look at this. When the study comes out next month the city will be compelled to change the actual left turn yellow times. If/when that happens the loss of revenue is likely to be projected for the long run. It is going to be very hard for the city to justify keeping this going if it has to be subsidized by the taxpayer. Redflex is already on the ropes in North America. I don’t see them reducing their monthly fee to put the city back in the black on this. Even if the cameras go the left turn light study is still worthwhile as the timing needs to be correct with or without camera enforcement.

  28. James Farley says:

    Those that say that paying these tickets are voluntary don’t appear to be on solid ground. I’ve done a bit of research and cannot find a conclusive answer that you are safe in doing so. There are good ways to fight these. Here is a good site to check out on this highwayrobbery.net

  29. msc545 says:

    James, at least at this time the empirical evidence, and there is a lot of it, indicates that ignoring these tickets has no consequences. Acknowledging them in any fashion at all, however, will trigger what appears to be “justice” in our traffic courts, which means one is automatically guilty.

  30. msc545 says:

    (cont) Therefore, not appearing and ignoring the “bait” letter(s) one is sent is effective in that the City cannot prove that you were the person driving unless they can physically look at you, and you are not compelled to aid them in their investigation, if any. To date nobody has reported that the Sheriff came to their house to identify them for purposes of a ticket. However, if you appear in court, the Judge will compare your appearance to that of the person in the video and make a determination which will virtually always be in favor of the city. Given all this, the best thing a person can do is to not show up. The Judges will not issue a bench warrant or notify DMV in the absence of better evidence than a video, and you, by not appearing, deny them that.

  31. MacroView says:

    With the city of Santa Clarita recently re-upping its contract with the company that provides its red light cameras, an old question has again emerged: Can you simply ignore the ticket you receive from one of the cameras?

    Santa Clarita City Councilman TimBen Boydston posed the question to City Attorney Joe Montes during last Tuesday’s council meeting.

    “No,” Montes responded. “There’s a sheriff’s liaison tasked specifically with enforcing these cases, and she’s in court regularly dealing with these tickets.”

    Sgt. Richard Cohen with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station shared a similar sentiment.

    “That would be like me issuing you a regular citation and you not going to court,” he said.

  32. MacroView says:

    From the L.A. times, July 27, 2011:
    City officials this week spotlighted a surprising revelation involving red-light camera tickets: Authorities cannot force violators who simply don’t respond to pay them. For a variety of reasons, including the way the law was written, Los Angeles officials say the fines for ticketed motorists are essentially “voluntary” and there are virtually no tangible consequences for those who refuse to pay.

  33. MacroView says:

    My wish is that officials would ONLY consider statistics regarding traffic accidents and injuries/deaths minimized by the red light cameras, with ZERO consideration given to revenue they supply. That should have NOTHING to do with it.

  34. Bob Shlaky says:

    I had two red light camera tickets that I ignored and didn’t pay, nothing has happened to me. Nothing on my record, driving or otherwise. The first was 5 years ago, and the second about 2, all because the damn yellow light was so short. I have had one speeding ticket (82mph) since then, and the cop did not pull up anything when running a background check.

  35. James Farley says:

    Good info Bob. I’m fighting these cameras from a different approach but want to learn more. Have you had a significant transaction with the DMV such as registering a new car? Wonder if the tickets would come up. I’d really like to learn how many and what percent of folks are simply ignoring. And what the Sheriff and/or city is doing about it.

    • msc545 says:

      As I mentioned before I recently had a significant DMV interaction (renewed my expired driver license ) in the context of having ignored two of these tickets, and there was no hold or any mention of them.

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