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New intersection boundaries may affect red light cameras


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New intersection boundaries may affect red light cameras

CREATED Mar 21, 2012

Reporter: Aaron Brackett

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tuesday the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a revision to the state's traffic code to redefine what constitutes an "intersection". As an intersection is currently defined as the area in between the curbs with an imaginary line defining what is technically within its bounds.

The proposal would also include things such as a crosswalk or a stop line. That would make the definition of an intersection bigger, giving drivers more legal time during a red light.

Mark Spear spent 40 years as an engineer and has been a long standing opponent of Tucson's traffic cameras. He says drivers are taught varying boundaries of what constitutes an intersection. "Driver training for 40 or 50 years has said, I must go through and clear the intersection," Spear explained. "Because of that difference in definition, people get trapped between the stop line where they normally stop, and [the imaginary line] that's the intersection."

 Tony Paez is the Interim Director of Transportation for the City of Tucson. He says a bigger intersection may pose a safety hazard. "I guess there is evidence that there has been some improvements with the cameras as far as safety is concerned but there may be some safety concerns with a longer intersection to travel through," Paez told 9OYS.

Spear says, safety will not be compromised if the new changes take effect. Because the distance through the intersection affects what is called the all red phase, which is what gives you time to clear the intersection; if the distance changes, they change that amount of red which prohibits the cross traffic, Spear Explained.

Redefining Tucson's intersections is not a done deal yet. The measure still has to go to a full vote.