December 4, 2013
The installation of an additional set of red-light cameras in Albemarle County have hit a speed bump, and there's no definitive timeline for when they'll be put in place.
The cameras are slated to go at the intersection of Route 250 and Route 20.
"We've identified this intersection as a priority," Albemarle County Police spokeswoman Carter Johnson said. "It's a high-traffic area, it's a high-crash area."
The cameras would be just like the ones at Route 29 and Rio Road. They snap photos of red-light runners and send them a ticket in the mail.
So far in 2013, the cameras have captured 7,850 pictures. Of those pictures, 4,268 have translated into tickets. The cameras were not in use between May 31 and July 7 of this year because of milling and paving on that stretch of Route 29.
Police say the money collected from the cameras goes toward traffic safety initiatives.
Before the installation, though, there's a process to follow. Right now, that's in the hands of county staff.
"We need to prove that the camera would be a beneficial addition to the traffic safety at the intersection before we're allowed to put the camera up," Albemarle County spokeswoman Lee Catlin said.
Staff can prove the need through an engineering safety assessment. Right now, that's supposed to be done by a traffic engineer in the county, but it's only one of his responsibilities, Catlin said.
"He is primarily responsible for doing the engineering safety analysis," she said. "He's also responsible for a lot of other projects that are underway in the county, so he's getting to that as his workload allows."
The process cannot move forward until the analysis is complete. Once finished, the Virginia Department of Transportation can issue a permit for the installation of a camera at the intersection. The department does not need to oversee the analysis.
A VDOT spokesman said Wednesday the department is aware of the county's interest in adding red-light cameras at the intersection, but it hasn't received any formal request from the county.
On Tuesday, the county accepted VDOT's offer to provide traffic statistics and information on both this intersection and others in the area to help in the analysis.
"It's still a priority for the police department," Johnson said. "It is something we want to see happen in the future."
However, despite many county officials' desires to have the red-light cameras up and running by this time last year, there's still no set timeline for installation.
"There are still a number of steps that would have to happen before the camera can be installed," Catlin said.