Filner told The Watchdog during the campaign that he opposed the program as set up, especially the high fines which the city has no ability to lower, as they are set by state law.
The citys transportation department said the cameras at Harbor and Grape are there to encourage drivers to stop obstructing the notoriously-gridlocked intersection.
That makes today the first day the citys red light camera program has been shut down since 2001, when it was shut down for a year to evaluate its effectiveness amid public outcries and lawsuits calling for it to end. The program dates to 1996, when the City Council first approved it, but contract issues kept the first cameras from becoming operational until 1998.
The citys 21 cameras at 15 intersections produced photos that officers used to issue nearly 20,000 tickets in 2011, with nearly a quarter of those coming from Harbor and Grape. In addition to the fine, the tickets cost drivers in auto insurance rate hikes.
The programs stated purpose is to reduce accidents, but a 2002 audit of the citys camera program found the Harbor and Grape intersection had so few accidents that the city should move its cameras elsewhere. The city did notRed-light cameras stop flashing Cameras follow through on that recommendation, and The Watchdog found a decade later there have been no accidents since 2001 at the intersection, according to the states accident database and the San Diego Police Department.
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner held a news conference Friday morning to follow through on a campaign promise he made in response to a question from The Watchdog,new york escort ending the citys red-light camera program.
He held the news conference at the citys most prolific intersection for spitting out the $490 tickets, North Harbor Drive and West Grape Street, near San Diego International Airport. A work crew went to work immediately dismantling the equipment.
Mayor Bob Filner announces the end of the red-light cameras on Feb. 1, 2013, as a work crew at Harbor and Grape sets out to remove signage for the unpopular program. K.C. Alfred
Until midnight last night this system used robotic technology to capture unsuspecting motorists in the San Diego version of a traffic trap, Filner said in a statement prepared before the news conference. This is not the way to enforce the traffic laws or teach people about the traffic laws. The best deterrent is a police officer, writing citations and talking to citizens.
After the county and the state take their share of fine revenue, the city received about $1.9 million for the tickets in fiscal year 2011. The city kept about $200,000 after paying the officers who issued the tickets, Cameras a camera vendor and other costs.
I have listened to residents who are angry and confused about the reliability of this system. I have heard from traffic engineers about accident statistics and changing traffic patterns on our roadways, he said. These cameras are history on San Diego city streets.
The citys contract with its camera vendor expired on Thursday, in part because former Mayor Jerry Sanders decided to hand off a renewal decision to the next mayor, after The Watchdog determined that both Filner and unsuccessful mayoral rival Carl DeMaio opposed the program.