DOT Begins Developing New Traffic Camera Rules
By Jill Kasparie, Reporter
IOWA CITY, Iowa - State lawmakers haven’t come up with new guidelines regarding traffic cameras. Now, the Iowa Department of Transportation is taking up the issue.
The DOT is working to put together a set of new rules on where red light and speed cameras can be installed along interstates and state highways. The changes could impact cities with cameras and those planning to install them.
Iowa City leaders, for one, are playing the waiting game. They were cruising along with a red-light camera project, but plans are currently on hold.
"Now, the DOT is exploring the idea of having rules and where they (the cameras) can and can't be used, so the city is kind of waiting to see how that rule-making unfolds,” said Kristopher Ackerson with the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County.
Iowa DOT Director Paul Trombino said the rules would help as more cities consider using the cameras. They will set guidelines requiring cities to provide data showing that cameras are the best tool to improve safety.
"We have the only interstate system in the United States that has fixed speed cameras on the interstate system … I think, for us, going through a rules process, clearly defining what the process is, will enable people so that everybody clearly understands,” Trombino said.
Crews installed speed and red-light cameras in Cedar Rapids three years ago. Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said she doesn't anticipate the need to make any changes.
"If you've got the rules in place it is going to be much easier, looking at ‘do we need them?’ It takes away that money grabbing idea that you're just putting them up for the revenue,” Sgt. Hamblin said.
Iowa City Transportation groups said they would just have to keep waiting to see what happens.
"We'll be tracking the process,” Ackerson said.
Besides the rules, there’s also a petition circulating to keep cameras out of Iowa City, so there’s still a lot for the council to consider.
The DOT has been considering these rules for a while and will hold community meetings to get feedback from Iowa drivers. It will also consider proposed legislation as part of the process.
"This has been a topic that's been debated at the legislature for several years, and I think having these rules in place will help alleviate some of the concerns the legislature has had,” Ackerson said.
The entire process could last all year.
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