CLEVELAND, Ohio Sept 28 2013 – For the second time in two days, the city of Cleveland on Friday announced that it is expanding the use of portable traffic cameras.

And this time, the city got it right.

At a news briefing held near a traffic camera at 2300 St. Clair Avenue, city officials said the would be placing six Xerox traffic-enforcement machines around the city to catch speeding drivers in the act.

The announcement came a day after city officials reported that they placed five speed cameras along five thoroughfares citywide, only to issue a statement 30 minutes later noting that two of the locations did not have the required signs, warning drivers that they were entering a speed enforcement zone. The release also noted technical problems, but did not elaborate.

Cleveland City Council overwhelmingly approved the expansion in May, and city officials have said the move is intended to improve safety rather than raise money.

Each ticket triggered by the devices costs the driver $100. Some of that money is used to pay a flat monthly fee to Xerox State and Local Solutions, Inc., while the city gets to keep the rest.

One of those who had to pay was Cleveland Safety Director Martin Flask, who said Friday that he was caught by a camera driving 37 mph in a 25 mph zone.
“I was angry when I got the ticket, but I paid it,” Flask said.

The portable camera unit devices are part of the broader automated photo enforcement program, which Flask said launched in 2005 and netted the city $6 million in tickets last year. That number could increase in the years to come, as the city plans to eventually have 15 portable cameras deployed.

And because they’re portable, they can be picked up and moved to different locations, which Department of Public Safety project manager Larry Jones II said will happen as often as every three days.

Another advantage to the devices is that operate by themselves, without the use of an officer. Flask said that will save the city about $500,000 in salary and benefit costs annually.

Flask, pointing out that the total combined revenue and cost savings only adds up to about 1 percent of the city’s $500 million operating budget, said the devices are really about keeping pedestrians and drivers alike safe as they traverse the city’s streets.

“All we’re asking is for people to respect our neighborhoods, respect our children and drive within the speed limit,” Flask said.
Here’s how they work. A sign placed about 100 feet in front of the camera alerts drivers there may be a traffic enforcement device in the area. The large, white box – which is hard to miss – sits on the sidewalk. Radar extends out from the box in a cone-shape, capturing driver’s speeds once they reach about 20 feet past the device.

While the device measures the speeds of all drivers that pass, it only enforces in one direction, and only snaps a photo while a car is traveling at least 11 mph over the designated speed limit.

“I think our enforcement policy is very fair,” Jones said.

Flask said there’s about a 10-day process from the moment the picture is snapped to the issuing of a ticket. During that 10 days, the ticket information is examined by Xerox, compared with the Department of Motor Vehicles and then sent to the Cleveland Police Department, which issues the ticket.

Flask said each photo will be inspected to make sure the ticket is warranted and that the vehicle wasn’t an emergency or funeral vehicle. He also said there is an appeal process for drivers who feel they don’t deserve the ticket they received.

The devices also capture video, which is archived for 60 days. That, Jones said, could help in the event an accident is captured nearby.

Jones said the devices are re-calibrated every year, and the city maintains all maintenance and service records on the devices.

The cameras are stationed at 4050 Superior Ave., 2416 East 55th St., 2300 St. Clair Ave., 3219 Detroit Ave., and 4123 Pearl Road. A device was originally set up on Edgewater Drive, but was removed due to “densely wooded tree lawns in the area,” the city said.

View Source