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Old 04-26-2013, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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Red light cameras are here to stay, all right; only because they are cash cows for the camera manufacturers, the company that monitors them, and the political jurisdiction.

They don't prevent people from running red lights.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:39 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,104,114 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
They are proven to work and are here to stay. If you have been caught by one and fined you only have yourself to blame for running the red light. It will teach you not to do it again. No amount of whining and crying is going to make them go away.
Their implementation in Baltimore has been comically bad. Issuing tickets to parked cars, those going under the limit, cameras getting stolen to be scapped, etc. etc. The vendor gets like 1/4 the amount of the ticket, then refused to make fixes. The whole program, which was supposed to create revenue, is something like $8 million in the hole!

In the school zones where they are placed, however ... folks have slowed down. And even though they have been turned off for a month (lol), folks still slow down for them.

I think there is some promise yet for these things ... but they are so damn unpopular, and all it takes is a few opportunist local pols to ride a wave of discontent, and bam, they're gone, never to be introduced again (even when the design is improved).

... a la the removal of a bike lane. A look into the wacky goings on in our city: Monroe Street bike lane: Gone baby gone | Baltimore Brew
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:07 AM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,266,947 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Red light cameras are here to stay, all right; only because they are cash cows for the camera manufacturers, the company that monitors them, and the political jurisdiction.

They don't prevent people from running red lights.


Well if you're stupid and reckless enough to run a red light in the first place, then you deserve to be caught and heavily fined for it, whether by police car or camera, and your license revoked if you keep doing it.
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:28 AM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,005,466 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
While I agree with your intent, I disagree with your method. It would be ham-handed, ineffective, and exceedingly expensive in both up-front (purchase and installation of the equipment) and ongoing (ticket review and processing, equipment maintenance, legal) expenses.

Quite frankly, it wouldn't work, and the price tag and political blowback would damn any such project.

Freeways are fast for the same reason streets are too fast, we've made, by way of throughway design, drivers feel like they control their environment, in this case at high speeds. The lanes are wide, the freeways are very wide, the sightlines are long, and on and on. We perceive it to be a high-speed environment, and drive accordingly.

If you really want drivers the slow down, the only sure solution is to internalize the danger and the cost of high-speed driving. Instead of a HOV toll lane, have a high-speed toll lane that is priced accordingly (a silly, outlandish idea, I know). Or, have more freeways, but each has fewer (no more than two each way), thinner lanes and shorter sightlines.
They said the same thing about red light cameras. Along with seatbelts. And airbags. They would never work, too expensive, political blowback, yaddah yaddah. The same ol same ol kind of fearmongering seems to be trotted against every traffic calming or traffic control proposal that ever came along.

Well red light cameras are now widespread in hundreds of areas across the country, they are working just fine at cutting down on speeding, reducing collisions while more than paying for themselves through the fines so none of these arguments hold much water. Sorry but driving is a privilege not a right, and drivers don't get to make their own rules of the road.
I have been a strong supporter of reducing the dominance of the automobile in favor of other users, such as pedestrians and bicyclists. And I have never said, here or elsewhere, that driving is a right. I agree, it is a privilege and I feel that licenses are too easy to get and keep.

But, cameras are expensive to install, maintain and support. And, because they remove the human interaction, cause far more anger than a living officer doing the same job. Combined with the fact that cities abuse the system by failing to review tickets, by shortening yellows, and by otherwise eating away at the stated purpose of safety in favor of revenue, and citizens tend to get very vocally angry.

Now, I brought up a toll lane as an example of internalizing the cost to the road user (darkeconomist, mind you). If a person is willing and able to pay the full cost to society (to the city, insurance, etc.) for driving fast, and can be safely separated from other traffic, let them have at it.

I brought up increasing the number of freeways, yes, but not the overall capacity. I would keep the capacity the same, but spread it out across more, but lower capacity, freeways. By reducing the overall width of freeways (down to two lanes each way) and of the individual lanes, people wouldn't feel as comfortable at high speeds. It's a matter of human nature. The same concepts that apply to calming a residential street also apply to freeways.

All that being given, I don't see from where you would get the idea that I was being pro-car.

Last edited by darkeconomist; 04-26-2013 at 11:37 AM..
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:35 AM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,005,466 times
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Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
Well if you're stupid and reckless enough to run a red light in the first place, then you deserve to be caught and heavily fined for it, whether by police car or camera, and your license revoked if you keep doing it.
This thread is about how to actually calm traffic. What should or should not happen isn't relevant. What would or would not happen, however, is what is important.

Yes, people should be fined for running red lights, but an arms race between runners and police isn't nearly as beneficial to society as stopping the problem from arising in the first place via better street design.
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Old 04-27-2013, 03:53 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,266,947 times
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Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
This thread is about how to actually calm traffic. What should or should not happen isn't relevant. What would or would not happen, however, is what is important.

Yes, people should be fined for running red lights, but an arms race between runners and police isn't nearly as beneficial to society as stopping the problem from arising in the first place via better street design.

True enough. It would be far better to convert the intersection into a roundabout if you could. But that would involve altering and rebuilding the whole intersection, a very expensive undertaking and not financially feasible in most cases. So the problem is money. Because of the expense you can't rebuild the freeways to make them calmer either. So you're left with red light cameras and speed cameras in most cases, which is better than nothing, and a lot cheaper than sticking a police cruiser near every major intersection. The unfortunate truth is, our roads in N. America, because they tend to be very wide and built for maximum speed, are terribly incompatible with traffic calming for the most part and not very conducive to our efforts to tame them.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,708 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
The unfortunate truth is, our roads in N. America, because they tend to be very wide and built for maximum speed, are terribly incompatible with traffic calming for the most part and not very conducive to our efforts to tame them.
And thankfully, most people don't see any problem with our roads being wide and built for higher speeds and actually prefer it as it makes it easier for traffic to flow, to pass slow moving vehicles and just travel a lot easier.
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Laurentia
5,593 posts, read 6,378,199 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
And thankfully, most people don't see any problem with our roads being wide and built for higher speeds and actually prefer it as it makes it easier for traffic to flow, to pass slow moving vehicles and just travel a lot easier.
One can make a convincing argument for traffic calming on a residential street, but a highway's traffic shouldn't be tamed. Their wide, high speed, and untamed nature is what makes them good thoroughfares.

As for red light cameras, aside from the considerations of justice and bilking motorists for extra revenue, they don't work. Red light cameras have not been proven to decrease accidents or help traffic flow. You can moan and groan about laws and illegal behavior, but improving safety and traffic flow is the reason traffic laws exist in the first place. There is well-documented evidence that longer yellow light times (on the order of 1 second longer) reduce accidents and in most cases reduce red light violations by more than 50 percent. Reductions of 80 percent or more have occurred in many cases, which blows red light cameras out of the water as far as safety goes.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:17 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,708 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
One can make a convincing argument for traffic calming on a residential street, but a highway's traffic shouldn't be tamed. Their wide, high speed, and untamed nature is what makes them good thoroughfares.

As for red light cameras, aside from the considerations of justice and bilking motorists for extra revenue, they don't work. Red light cameras have not been proven to decrease accidents or help traffic flow. You can moan and groan about laws and illegal behavior, but improving safety and traffic flow is the reason traffic laws exist in the first place. There is well-documented evidence that longer yellow light times (on the order of 1 second longer) reduce accidents and in most cases reduce red light violations by more than 50 percent. Reductions of 80 percent or more have occurred in many cases, which blows red light cameras out of the water as far as safety goes.
Agreed on the bit about residential streets...but highways and arterials should be built for LOS and efficient, quick travel. Revenue enhancement bull$%*# and terrible driver training/education in the US really does keep us from being able to have more sensible speed limits that smart people would actually be able to follow and get somewhere efficiently: more 75-80-85 mph speed limits on truly rural interstate sections, more 65mph limits in places where it's 55 for revenue enhancement and speed traps, and places where just plain idiots who can't drive cause engineers to want to set the limit lower.

As for red light cameras, you're completely right and that's why I can't help but just completely dismiss any argument "cisco kid" has in favor of them. I've personally noticed that all of the red light camera'd lights around my area have much shorter yellow periods...so much so that it has been brought up before in our local news:

Are red lights at camera intersections rigged? | SILive.com

I think these intersections could benefit more so from better light synchronization and longer yellow light phases. We have signals that seem to arbitrarily change out of sync, and clearly cause people to speed up and catch the next signal...combine that with the short yellows and cameras and you have another nice revenue enhancement stream from the corrupt people running this crap. In fact, I've even seen several examples of streets where they sync a whole string of lights to go green for....lets say, 60 seconds and have ONE damn light only stay green for 48 seconds and that's the one that has the camera. You have a perfect flow of traffic in both directions, all of the sudden the one idiotic camera light-rigged 48 second intersection turns yellow for 2 seconds, then red as a bunch of cars in this flow have to make a split second decision to gun it or slam on their brakes and risk a really bad rear-ender. CHA CHING for the City of New York. I've just described the northbound West Side Highway at West Houston Street: only camera light ticket I've ever gotten in 7 years of driving, back in 2009 lol.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:10 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,803 posts, read 10,714,285 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
One can make a convincing argument for traffic calming on a residential street, but a highway's traffic shouldn't be tamed. Their wide, high speed, and untamed nature is what makes them good thoroughfares.
I think the real controveries are not on limited access highways on the one hand, or on residential streets on the other, but on non-limited access arterials that run through or alongside either legacy neighborhood/town centers, or would be walkable urban places. Roads that are often utilized as quasi-highways by many drivers, but where there is either existing pedestrian usage, or potential for heavy ped/bike usage. And where, often, bike/ped usage is key to either development or redevelopment. This can be in rural areas (where a non-limited access highway cuts through the heart of town), in an older suburb attempting to redevelop, or in city neighborhoods with wide arteries that cut through them.
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