Tempe to stop use of traffic cameras

SHUT DOWN: Beginning on Tuesday at midnight, the city of Tempe will be disabling its traffic cameras following a vote in which the city council decided against renewing its contract with the photoradar management company, Redflex Traffic Systems. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

On Tuesday at midnight, traffic cameras in Tempe will be shut down.

The Tempe City Council voted at its July 7 meeting to cease the use of the cameras.

The council’s agenda had a proposal to extend the contract three months past its July 18 expiration date, but Mayor Hugh Hallman instead motioned for a vote to extend the contract one month.

That motion was struck down in a 4-to-3 vote.

Hallman, as well as council members Robin Arredondo-Savage and Joel Navarro voted yes for the motion, while council members Shana Ellis, Corey Woods, Onnie Shekerjian and Mark Mitchell voted against it.

The company that set up and operates the photo enforcement cameras, Redflex Traffic Systems, filed a lawsuit against the city of Tempe in December, arguing that the city was in breach of its contract by not sharing revenue generated by cited drivers who elect to go to traffic school.

The lawsuit has yet to be resolved.

Tempe City Manager Charlie Meyer said in a statement that the city would consider re-implementing photo enforcement cameras at another meeting, but that it could take time — as much as six months — before new equipment could be set up. In the meantime, Redflex may remove its traffic equipment from Tempe streets.

Any traffic tickets sent out via photo radar from the time of the council’s vote to the shutdown of the cameras must still be paid.

Tom Herrmann, a spokesman for Redflex, said the traffic camera company had no comment on the city voting to remove the cameras or the lawsuit, other than to say they hope it is resolved.

“We’re certainly hoping that we can continue our relationship with Tempe,” Herrmann said.

Last summer, the Department of Public Safety removed similar speed cameras from Arizona freeways after controversy. Some argued that the cameras were only to provide revenue for the state, rather than preventing traffic incidents.

Reach the reporter at clecher@asu.edu