published Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Chattanooga: Traffic cameras on interstates a no-go

Audio clip

Van Winkle

NASHVILLE — A Senate panel on Tuesday blew the whistle on Chattanooga officials’ hopes of using traffic cameras to crack down on speeders along a stretch of Interstate 24 slicing through Missionary Ridge and other areas.

Senate Transportation Committee members unanimously approved the bill by Sen. Tim Burchett, R-Knoxville. As amended, it now bans state or local governments from using photo-enforcement cameras to catch speeders on federal interstates.

“These are basically fee grabbers and, so far as I’m concerned, they’re speed traps,” Sen. Burchett said of moves in recent years by cities including Chattanooga to expand use of photo enforcement of motorists violating red-light laws and speeders. “We don’t need them in Tennessee.”

The bill creates an exception, allowing the state Department of Transportation to deploy photo enforcement to nab speeders at interstate work sites.

Several Transportation Committee members including Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, expressed interest in expanding the ban to state highways including those in cities.

“I have received numerous complaints from the citizens,” Sen. Yager said.

Sen. Burchett said he would prefer not to do that, noting, “I believe some folks would have some opposition.” But he did not rule out accepting such an amendment when the measure reaches the Senate floor.

Chattanooga officials attended the meeting, fearing Sen. Burchett would carry through with the original intent of the bill, which was to lengthen yellow lights to five seconds at photo-enforced intersections. At Sen. Burchett’s request, the panel rewrote the bill with an amendment containing the federal interstate provision.

Later, City Traffic Engineer John W. Van Winkle said he was pleased the yellow light issue appeared resolved, saying clearances should not be set by “artificially high clearance” times but “based on engineering analysis.”

But he expressed disappointment over the exclusion of photo enforcement on interstates, noting that “we were hoping we could somehow work that out.”

Mr. Van Winkle said he had been interested in setting up a demonstration project at the Missionary Ridge cut with the University of Tennessee.

“I think there are circumstances where it would be valuable to have photo enforcement on interstates where you have chronic accident districts such as the Ridge cut in Chattanooga,” he said. “It’s very common to have even minor collisions create massive traffic jams.”

Mr. Van Winkle said “I understand the sentiment” on the committee. He said the city’s interest is not in “fee grabbing” but public safety.

Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, said he had opposed Sen. Burchett’s initial bill but went along with the interstate provision.

But he said he opposes banning use of photo enforcement for speeders on state highways such as portions of Highway 153 and Amnicola Highway.

“You can see there are instances where that’s necessary for the cities to use, and they need discretion to do that,” Sen. Berke said, citing the city’s success in cutting traffic fatalities on the “S” curves on Hixson Pike.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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piratenews said...

Lasercraft busted for perjury and fraud in Chattanooga by shortening yellow lights, all tickets refunded:

MYTH: "LaserCraft Inc. of Norcross, Ga

FACT: "Lasercraft is a member of the Public Safety Equipment (PSE) group of companies. Public Safety Equipment (Intl) Ltd, Registered Office, Yeadon, Leeds, England, with Beijing Mag Science & Technology Development Corp, Beijing, China."

18 US Code § 2381. Treason. Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

Mayor arrests city councillor for opposing traffic scameras:

"It is extremely easy to beat this type of ticket in court. Your easiest defense is to simply throw the ticket away. If it does not come with a return receipt that requires a signature, there is no proof that you actually got the ticket and they cannot prosecute you on that." -Norman G. Fernandez, attorney at law, and Jes Beard, attorney at law in Chattanooga, "How to Beat a Speeding Ticket - Photo RADAR"

Knox County deputy sheriffs shot Redflex redlight cameras with bullets:

Battle of Athens Tennessee 1946 over bogus speeding tickets

April 15, 2009 at 12:21 p.m.
piratenews said...

When the fascist mayor illegally arrested the city councilman for his petition to ban redlight/radar scameras, he was stopping the coincilman from reporting that 85% of redlight camera tickets are for safely turning right on red after stop:

Redflex Scamera Company Bribes EACH Politician $72,000 per YEAR, $35-million in bribes paid to politicians per state

Polyticks is defined as "many blood-sucking creatures".

April 15, 2009 at 1:07 p.m.
GeorgiaRebel said...

Chattanooga, like a lot of other nanny-state governments, is using "public safety" as a guise to line their coffers. Time to remove the money-grubbing scumbags from public office.

April 15, 2009 at 9:09 p.m.
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