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Red light runners beware

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February 20, 2006

Albany-- Last year, Albany city commissioners approved a plan to try to stop red light runners and reduce the number of crashes Downtown. The city's first red light camera still hasn't been installed but traffic engineers hope to have the camera up soon.

At the intersection of North Jefferson and Pine Avenue, not every driver stops when the light turns red. "This is a bad intersection," says driver Lestaesha Crawford. In a matter of minutes, we caught two red light runners.

"Everybody will try to make that one turn from that one light in order to keep from waiting again," says Crawford.

Crawford works in the area. She says between traffic and traffic violators, the intersection can be stressful. "Depending on the time. Probably about 5 o'clock now, it's real bad," says Crawford.

It's something that may be eased soon. The wheels are beginning to roll on the installation of a red light camera at the intersection. "There is a number of right angle accidents that have occurred at that intersection over the past five years," says Director of Engineering Bob Alexander.

Between 2000 and 2005, nearly 30 right angle crashes occurred but the camera would help to reduce them there and eventually in other places. "If it works the way we think it should work, I would anticipate putting them in areas where we have problems," says Alexander.

Another possible location for a camera is the intersection of Oglethorpe and Radium Springs but Alexander says the first step is getting the first camera installed. The installation should be quickened with a new police chief now in place.

"Without having a chief of police, I think everything just slowed down a little bit," says Alexander.

Every little bit counts for drivers concerned with safety. "Doing whatever they have to do to keep people from running the light, that's fine," says Crawford. But will a fine of 70 dollars be enough to stop some red light violators? The cameras will soon tell.

The system will cost about $148,000, partly paid for with a grant from the Department of Transportation. Chief James Younger will meet with his staff to determine how soon the camera will be installed.

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