City to install cameras to net traffic violators

A new set of eyes will soon be perched atop two major intersections, more than a year after city officials expected to install additional traffic cameras to catch red-light runners.

The city’s first camera was installed in September 2006 on the corner of Millbrae Avenue and Rollins Road, where 30,000 to 40,000 drivers pass through each day. A new camera will be installed on the corner of El Camino Real and Millbrae Avenue. Another new red-light camera will be placed at the Millbrae Avenue off-ramp for southbound U.S. Highway 101.

Each location has been targeted by the city for such a camera for more than a year.

Millbrae police and City Engineer Khee Lim said they met with Caltrans last week and were able to overcome stumbling blocks that had prevented the city from receiving state permits to install the camera. The El Camino Real camera was supposed to be installed in April 2007 but the city needed to show it was needed and would be run effectively, officials said.

“[The cameras] should have been in by now,” said City Manager Ralph Jaeck.

The city will receive the permits from Caltrans within one or two months and have the cameras up and running within 10 weeks afterward, said Lim and police Sgt. John Aronis.

The cameras run constantly and take photos of drivers as they pass illegally through red lights. Motorists are then issued tickets for traffic violations worth $358.50 after a 30-day grace period following the installation.

Police have also been receiving a lot of calls from motorists wondering why the current camera flashes even when there is no red-light infraction, Aronis said. The police and the vendor of the cameras, American Traffic Solutions, have decided on a confidential speed that sets off a camera flash without issuing tickets, Aronis said.

The camera’s most noteworthy use came in October when Burlingame police released images caught by the camera of a suspected killer. After Londell Wilson was fatally shot in his Honda on U.S. Highway 101 on Sept. 30, police used the camera to identify suspect vehicles. A person watching the news saw the vehicles and led police to alleged killer Doyal Malcolm Webber.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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