The majority of California cities that have tried red light cameras have dropped them, but not Solana Beach. The San Diego suburb's city council skipped public discussion and unanimously voted to renew its photo ticketing deal with Redflex Traffic Systems. Experts reviewing the deal found it made little sense on a financial or safety basis.
"Based on our analysis, the city of Solana Beach's red light camera program appears to have had no positive effect on traffic safety in the city, even after more than a decade of enforcement and the issuance of over 25,000 tickets," Safer Streets LA executive director Jay Beeber explained. "Further, it appears that the cameras were installed in locations that did not have a prior red light running collision problem. While the implementation of this program was likely well intended by those who initiated it, the program has not achieved the intended results."
Beeber used the official state accident database to find that the cameras did not reduce red light related accidents either citywide or at photo enforced locations, but rear end collisions did increase slightly at camera intersections. Others took issue with the city's decision to pay Redflex far more than nearby cities for their red light camera contract.
"Your neighbor Del Mar pays $1578 per month for each of their cameras while you are being asked to continue paying $2386 -- 51 percent more," the editor of HighwayRobbery.net pointed out in an email to the city council recommending engineering improvemnets instead of cameras.
More than half of the $500 tickets that Redflex issues in Solana Beach go to motorists who make rolling right turns. Beeber's analysis found that the California stops rarely cause accidents. At the intersection of Solana Hills Drive and Lomas Santa Fe Drive, nearly all the tickets went to turning drivers, yet not one accident in the city since 2001 can be attributed to drivers turning right on red.