Greenwood Village equipment mounted on the northwest corner of Belleview Avenue and Quebec Street captures images of the driver and license plate, along with a video of vehicles going through a red light. Photo by Freda Miklin
BY FREDA MIKLIN
Greenwood Village installed its fourth photo red-light camera in 2018 at the intersection of Belleview Avenue and Dayton Street after an increasing number of actual accidents and near-misses between pedestrians and cars at that intersection.
The large volume of pedestrian traffic comes primarily from schoolchildren at the three Cherry Creek public schools just north and users of the synagogue just west of the corner. This problem has been a strongly-voiced concern of city council member Steve Moran since he was first elected in 2015. Multiple events and citizen complaints since then have confirmed that his fears were justified.
The other intersections with red light cameras in GV are Belleview Avenue and Quebec Street, Orchard Road and Quebec Street, and Arapahoe Road and Yosemite Street. Injury accidents at Orchard Road and Quebec Street have gone down steadily between 2015 and 2017, from 15 to 6.
The Arapahoe Road camera was not functional while the intersection was being rebuilt between 2016 and 2018, so no current data is available. Regarding one of the busiest intersections in the city, GV Police Chief Dustin Varney said, “We are not seeing as many broadsides and head-on traffic accidents at photo red light locations such as the Belleview Avenue and Quebec Street intersection. Of the injury accidents, the severity of the injuries has been reduced.”
The Rules of the Road (Colorado.gov) and safety dictate that a driver should not enter an intersection when the traffic signal is yellow, though any vehicle already in the intersection should proceed through it. The four locations in GV that have cameras are programmed to capture those drivers who enter the intersection after the signal has turned red.
Through its Arizona-based contractor, GV captures two still images and a 12-second video of every event that leads to a ticket being issued. Once the city completes all the steps necessary to verify that the photos and video demonstrate the law was broken, a sworn police officer approves the issuance of the ticket. No points can be assessed against one’s driving record from these tickets because there isn’t enough data to meet legal standards for doing so, thus the DMV is not notified of these violations. The vehicle owner is given two weeks to pay the $75 fine or dispute it.
Reasons a ticket may be disputed are listed on the back of the ticket. They include being able to prove that the recipient of the ticket was not the driver.
The city issued 8,691 tickets in 2016 and 8,148 in 2017, 65 percent of which were paid. Verra Mobility, the contractor who processes violations and maintains the photography equipment after GV purchases and installs it, was paid $631,500 for 2016 and 2017. However, GV generated $811,000 in revenue from the program.
The program is not a meaningful profit center for the city. Its sole purpose is to encourage safe driving in Greenwood Village and all signs indicate it is doing just that.
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