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Speeding motorist questions use of speed van

GRINCHY SPEED VANS IN THE CITY OF VISION: M. Klaw emails that just in time for the holiday season “I just received our second speed ticket from an outfit called STOP out of Cleveland, Ohio, which operates in Rio Rancho. We shall, of course, pay the $100 fine, excessive in our view.

“My personal protest is that this has nothing to do with safety. The unmanned vans are set on streets with little or no traffic between rush hours, where no accidents happen, and no danger in evidence, but with low speed limits. This program is clearly just a money-making scheme by Rio Rancho to add a few dollars to its coffers, although most of the dollars paid by the drivers go to enrich an out-of-state business.

“If the Rio Rancho city government was honestly looking after road safety with the use of these speed traps, the vans would be on N.M. 528 and the middle of Southern Blvd., and even Unser Blvd. where the problems actually exist. But that is not where they are, probably too difficult for the cameras.

“As it is implemented, this program is a form of extortion. I hope enough people getting this fine for driving 43 mph on an empty street will protest to rid the city of this scourge.”

Annemarie L. GarcĂ­a, communications and information manager for the city of Rio Rancho, says, “Speed violations via mobile speed monitoring units begin 11 mph above the posted speed limit. Based on the information provided by this person, they were traveling 43 mph in a likely 25 mph posted area. The city receives regular complaints by residents about speeding in residential areas and requests for the placement of mobile speed monitoring units.

“The purpose of mobile monitoring speed units is to augment the police department’s traffic enforcement resources and to help positively impact driving behavior in order to make roads safer. The revenue the city receives from each paid citation is applied to police department police vehicle acquisition needs.”

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As for where M.’s suggestion on where to put the vans, “N.M. 528/Pat D’Arco Highway is a state road, and per a ruling by the New Mexico Department of Transportation Commission in 2010, the placement of automated enforcement equipment, such as mobile speed monitoring units, on state roads is restricted. However, pursuant to state law, state government receives a portion of each paid citation issued by any local program.

“Mobile speed units are placed on Southern Boulevard, where applicable.”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103.

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