New traffic camera snaps scofflaws

By Kori Spencer - Staff Reporter

Students frustrated by the heavy traffic and tempted to be the last vehicle to sneak through the signal at the Kent-Des Moines Road and Pacific Highway South intersection might want to remember to smile for the camera beginning next week.

The City of Dees Moines is expanding its traffic safety cameras on Dec 15. to include the heavily travelled intersection just north of the Highline Campus.

They will join two other recently cameraed intersections at Pacific Highway South/South 216th and at Marine View Drive/South 216th Street.

"Studies that were collected were speed data, and collision data. These locations were chosen because more incidents occurred at these specific locations than anywhere else in the city," said Master Sgt. Dough Jenkins of the Des Moines Police Department.

Plans to install these cameras have been kicked around for some time since the contractor, Automated Traffic Solutions, was permitted in 2011 to install school zone cameras at Woodmont Elementary School on 16th Avenue South in the southern part of the city and at Midway Elementary School on 24th Avenue South on the eastern edge part of the city's core.

According to City of Des Moines documentation Midway Elementary School there has been an 82 percent violation reduction at Woodmont Elementary School. At Midway Elementary there has been a 90 percent reduction since these photo enforcement cameras were installed.

The school zone cameras only operate when school is in session. These red light cameras that have recently been installed at these three new locations will run 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

ATS maintains the cameras under contract with the city.

"The city does not pay for these cameras. Automated Traffic Solutions installs these cameras and we pay a monthly fee for each location and the fee is paid out of the money that is generated by the violations," MSgt. Jenkins said.

Fewer collisions have been happening at the other two recently installed locations, but that doesn't seem to stop drivers from other violations.

"At South 261th street and Pacific Highway South there have been at least 500 violations in less than a month, but no collisions since the cameras have been installed," MSgt. Jenkins said.

The Basic fine is at least $136 for running one of the lights. Money from the fines is used to first to pay the contractor for the system and for the city's costs to operate the system. Any money left over can only be used for public safety purposes.

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