Red light runners target of proposed traffic camera ordinance

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Red light runners beware, an ordinance to bring traffic cameras online in Anchorage is moving through the Assembly chambers.

On Tuesday, city leaders heard public testimony on an ordinance that would change municipal code to allow for “automated traffic-safety cameras for limited purposes.” It’s an issue assembly member Dick Traini said is popular among his constituents.

“There's not a day that goes by that I don't get an email, 'Please do something about this,’” said Traini.

The ordinance will need the approval of eight members of the Anchorage Assembly to put a question on the April municipal election ballot. The ballot question would ask residents for permission to change a section of Anchorage’s municipal code written in 1997 banning the use of traffic cameras.

Currently the city’s code only allows police officers the ability to issue traffic citations. The ordinance, submitted by Traini and Elvi Gray-Jackson, would make adjustments to also allow for red light cameras be a watchful eye in the sky to cite dangerous drivers.

“We can't put a police officer at every intersection, but we can decide what are the bad intersections and put red light cameras there to catch the people going through the red light,” said Traini.

The handful of residents who spoke about the ordinance at Tuesday’s public hearing had mixed feelings towards the proposal.

“I just think that this is something that maybe is a good idea, but it's going to cause such animosity in Anchorage that it takes all the air out of the room and we get nothing else accomplished,” said one person.

“I think Mr. Traini has a great proposal here, I'd like to see it supported,” said another.

“We're going to vote this down. It's going to flame out,” one man said to the Anchorage Assembly.

Traini said, if the ordinance is approved by voters, it could be three years or more before any cameras would go into operation.

Continued public hearing on the matter is scheduled for Jan. 24.

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