While the camera hasn’t been functional in years, its housing is still keeping a constant vigil at the busy intersection. Police tell us, however, that they’re planning on taking the camera down in about a month.
Arlington currently has four working red light cameras: NB N. Lynn Street at EB Lee Highway, SB Ft. Myer Drive at WB Lee Highway, NB N. Glebe Road at Fairfax Drive and NB Washington Blvd at Lee Highway. In Virginia, the fines from red light cameras are limited to $50.
“There is no doubt that it’s all about the money,” the Washington Times says about Arlington’s new red light cameras.
In an editorial — who knew the Times still covered local issues? — the paper claims the combined “angle collision” rate at the four intersections where cameras are installed is a mere 0.15 incidents per month.
The Times also says that rear end collisions doubled last time Arlington installed red light cameras.
So, is it about the money? No, police say: it’s about safety, not profit.
But the month-long trial period suggests that Arlington will likely generate revenue from the program.
A total of 577 warnings were issued in the past month. If that rate remains constant while the system issues $50 citations, it will generate $346,200 over 12 months. Arlington pays $178,800 per year to the contractor that maintains the camera system. That leaves a surplus of $167,400. Of course, a significant percentage of that will be paid to the contractor as ticket processing fees (we’re guessing half).
Somehow, though, it seems unlikely that a sinister revenue-generating plot was hatched over a sum that would barely pay the salary and benefits for one additional beat officer.
If you run the wrong red light after midnight tonight, you’ll be getting a $50 ticket in the mail.
Arlington’s new red light cameras, which have been issuing warnings for the past month, will now be issuing fines. The infraction will be treated as a civil offense, meaning it won’t go on your driving record.
The cameras are located at the following intersections:
- Eastbound Lee Highway at North Lynn Street
- Southbound Ft. Myer Drive at westbound Lee Highway
- Westbound Lee Highway at Washington Boulevard
- Northbound North Glebe Road at Fairfax Drive
If successful, the county has indicated that it may opt to install additional cameras. Under state law, the county is permitted to install up to 20 red light cameras.
Arlington’s new red light cameras went live this morning.
The cameras, perched at four busy intersections, will issue warnings for the next 30 days as part of an “awareness period.” Then, starting in mid-to-late July, violators will start receiving $50 fines.
If the red light camera program is deemed a success by the police department and the county board, expect to see up to 16 additional cameras — the maximum allowed by Virginia law — popping up around Arlington.
After a five year hiatus, Arlington is bringing back red light cameras at four busy county intersections.
Arlington’s previous generation of red light cameras went dark in 2005 after the Virginia General Assembly banned them statewide. The cameras were reauthorized in 2007 but stayed dormant in Arlington.
Now, the county is installing a new generation of cameras with the vaguely Bono-inspired name of ‘PhotoRED.’
The cameras will monitor eastbound Lee Highway at North Lynn Street, westbound Lee Highway at Washington Boulevard, northbound North Glebe Road at Fairfax Drive, and southbound Ft. Myer Drive at westbound Lee Highway.
The PhotoRED cameras are expected to come online on Monday, June 14. They will issue warnings for the first 30 days, police said. After that, drivers who run red lights or violate Virginia’s right turn on red law will receive this notice of violation and a $50 civil fine (like a parking ticket, it will not go on the driver’s record).
The system will cost the police department $14,900 per month, although the county will keep a portion of the fines collected. (Updated at 3:55 p.m.)
The county says that red light photo enforcement can reduce crashes at monitored intersections by roughly 40 percent.
Diagram courtesy of Arlington County Police Department.