A new study from the City of Rochester says red light cameras are making streets safer. The report by SRF Associates found overall crashes are down 21 percent at the 32 monitored intersections. Crashes involving someone running a red light are down 53 percent.
However, all types of crashes were up at several intersections, including W. Ridge Rd. and Lake Ave. and Ridgeway and Lake Ave. Rear-end crashes were up at eight intersections.
The city used crash data from 2007 to 2014. The city began installing red light cameras in 2011.
The study recommended removing the red light camera at Maple and Saxon because there were no crashes before or after the cameras were installed. When asked why a camera would be installed at such an intersection in the first place, the city said police gathered data over an 8-hour period showing red light-running was a problem.
The city notes the same number of people are getting red light camera tickets every year.
“Overall, we’re getting the same number of violations per year so for some reason we’re not changing the behavior, which is what we hoped to do,” said City Engineer Jim McIntosh.
That’s proof the program is not working, according to red light camera critic Larry Krieger, an attorney. He said the city’s study was structured poorly, as it used no control intersections and didn’t measure traffic volume before or after the cameras were installed.
“Rochester is the only city in the country to do a study showing the cameras work,” Krieger said.
Krieger said the city owes an apology to anyone who got a ticket at Maple and Saxon, as those were “gotcha” tickets and a “solution in search of a problem.”
The city expects to pull in $4 million from the red light cameras next fiscal year.