Sioux City, IA (ABC9 News) – The City of Sioux City must remove three red-light violation cameras and two mobile speed cameras, according to an order from the Iowa Department of Transportation.
This comes following a new requirement from the DOT, which requires all communities with automated traffic enforcement (ATE) on the highway system to file a report proving it is being used for safety purposes only.
“This is not an exact science, you know, there can be arguments made either way and so it’s a judgement call. Certainly the DOT was trying to be fair and consistent across the 3 cities that had urban interstate cameras,” says Steve Gent of the DOT.
Last April, Sioux City Police Chief Doug Young authored a detailed outline of the four intersections with red-light cameras and two mobile speed cameras that are on the primary highway system.
On Tuesday the DOT ruled that the city must remove three red-light cameras and both portable speed cameras used on Interstate 29.
The DOT is asking the city to remove both the northbound and southbound red-light cameras at Lewis Blvd and Outer Drive, saying that crashes actually increased after the cameras were installed.
The report also says that the city should not replace the red-light camera at Gordon Drive and Nebraska Avenue unless the city can submit a justification report showing “that continued use of an ATE system will be contingent on the effectiveness of the system.”
The cameras being used at Gordon Drive and Fairmount and Gordon Drive and Palmetto both were given approval to continue operation.
Both mobile speed cameras used along I-29 are too be removed, stating that “the number of annual crashes varies greatly over the past 10 years,” making it “difficult to determine the effect the speed trailers have had on the number of crashes.
While controversial, overall it seems the people of Sioux City won’t miss the cameras.
Bob Stoneburg tells ABC9, “I don’t like them. They’ve cost me about $300.”
Carol Ragan adds, “At first I really believed that they were for safety, I do see a lot of people in Sioux City running red lights and I know that’s really dangerous. I’m not so sure about the speed cameras, I think those might be more just revenue generating.”
“I think it’s more about revenue myself than safety. If they was thinking safety they’d have never put them out there. Because if somebody sees them and you’re behind them, they want to automatically hit their breaks,” says John James.
The city has until April 17th to remove the cameras or appeal the ruling by the DOT. But either way city council says this will not affect the budget, because they knew this was a possibility.
“Actually I wasn’t surprised. We kind of counted on that, well we didn’t count on it but as far as the budget goes we didn’t put it in the budget so no problem with that,” Rhonda Capron tells ABC9 News.