Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
A spike in the number of red light tickets in Millbrae led officials to investigate the sudden change.
A huge uptick in drivers in Millbrae heading home with tickets from April to May is under investigation, but officials have discovered the cameras are more accurate now than they were before a new camera was installed.
Between April and May 2014 the number of red light tickets issued jumped from 669 to 1,525, according to recent data emailed to the Millbrae City Council by HighwayRobbery.net, a blog that monitors red light cameras in the state. That’s 856 extra tickets in a month worth $428,000. In June, the number of red light tickets dropped to 1,255, still 586 more than in the month prior.
The San Mateo Police Department, that is contracted to run the red light cameras, was in charge of investigating the lights and ultimately found that a light that had been replaced in April is functioning properly now, said City Clerk Angela Louis.
“Back in April that camera, the southbound (Highway) 101 offramp onto Millbrae Avenue, was damaged and replaced with a new camera in May,” Louis said. “It was repositioned in a better location and it has optimized for capturing the violations. I’ve been told by the contractor (the San Mateo Police Department) the system is working correctly.”
There are two other red light cameras in Millbrae, one at Rollins Road and Millbrae Avenue, along with Millbrae Avenue and El Camino Real. Situations like this are always a concern to members of the City Council, said Councilwoman Marge Colapietro. As long as the city went through a thorough check of the camera, then she is concerned about the number of violations at that location.
“As to the volume, that gives me pause because that means that there are people who are not making those full stops and that’s why they (the cameras) were put there: to protect the pedestrians and to protect other vehicles.”
Still, it’s unclear why there was a huge spike in violations in May, said Mayor Wayne Lee.
“We’re working to figure that out with the vendor,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out if it was a malfunction. We don’t want to be causing undue stress. I think traffic cameras should be there to make sure our streets are safe.”
If there was a glitch during that time period, corrections should be made to the tickets, Colapietro said.
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