In Los Angeles, gridlock isn’t confined to congested freeways.
The future of 32 red light cameras currently in use by the city of Los Angeles remained in limbo Tuesday, June 21, after councilmembers were unable to find consensus after a series of split votes.
The City Council took up the matter after a police oversight commission voted earlier this month to discontinue the program when the contract with the camera provider expires at the end of July. The commission claimed the program has serious flaws, one being that the courts don’t force violators to pay fines from the red-light cameras.
Councilman Tony Cardenas submitted a motion Tuesday to continue the camera program on a month-to-month basis while exploring options that would compel violators to pay the red-light tickets. Cardenas cited statistics from the LAPD that claimed a 62 percent decrease in fatal accidents at intersections where the cameras are located.
But other councilmembers voiced skepticism. Some questioned the program’s cost effectiveness, while others didn’t want to undermine the oversight commission’s recommendation to take out the cameras. Still others on the 15-member City Council said they believed the public safety benefit brought by the cameras could be as easily achieved by re-timing yellow and red lights.
After more than an hour of debate, Cardenas’ proposal stalled on a deadlocked 7-7 vote, according to the Los Angeles Times. A separate vote to end the program also tied.
The camera issue has been sent to the city’s budget committee for further consideration, the L.A. Times reported. The City Council is expected to debate the cameras again in July.
For more details about behind-the-scenes confusion about the council votes, visit the L.A. Times’ account of the meeting.