MORE SPEED ENFORCEMENT DETAILS: Albuquerque turned on the speed cameras May 25, and now that they are actually up, running and issuing citations, readers have more questions.
L. Thornburg likely speaks for many in her email. “More information is needed. Who calibrates the cameras? How much over the posted limit is ‘too much’ and will result in a ticket? Where are the locations of all of the cameras? Even if you use cruise control those can be plus or minus by several mph. … We need accurate and transparent information.”
Lisa Orlando adds “I’m sure I’m not the only person outraged by the fact people driving 90 mph on a city street are only paying $100 when we believe they should be arrested. Meanwhile, people who are going 5 mph over the speed limit, which only puts you near every other driver’s speed, are being fined the same amount. How are they justifying this?”
LOCATIONS: The cameras are on east- and westbound Gibson at Carlisle and on westbound Montgomery between Wyoming and Eubank. Three more are planned on Lead, Coal and Unser, though a city spokesman says the exact locations have not been determined. A total of seven fixed (like Gibson) and three mobile (like Montgomery) units are planned; placement is based on traffic and crash data and community input.
CALIBRATION: City officials say the camera radar, from vendor NovoaGlobal, self-calibrates every 24 hours.
PENALTIES: The cameras are considered a force multiplier that bust speeders while freeing up officers for other areas and to fight violent crime.
Fines are $100 and are civil penalties, so your license and insurance are not affected. They are mailed to the vehicle owner. Expect your ticket in the mail seven to 10 days after the violation. You have 30 days to pay it, schedule four hours of community service, dime out another driver, fight it or ignore it and deal with a collection agency. Half of the fine goes to the state, ironic since state law does not allow the cameras to be placed on federal or state roads (like the highways or Paseo del Norte, Coors and Tramway). So it is highly unlikely you would use cruise control on the city streets the cameras are allowed on. The rest of the fine goes to pay for the program and for traffic safety.
VIOLATIONS START AT 5 MPH AND 10 MPH: City officials and law enforcement have declined to identify any “safe” number to speed and not get a citation, understandable since they are not in the business of encouraging speeding.
But a signed memo with the regulations for the ASE, aka automated speed enforcement, addresses Lisa and L.’s big concern:
• In “safety zones,” including school and construction zones, tickets will be issued when “the speed of the vehicle recorded by the camera speed device was equal to or greater than 5 miles per hour over the speed limit.”
• Otherwise tickets will be issued when “the speed of the vehicle recorded by the CSD was equal to or greater than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.”
NMDOT ON I-40 WORK-ZONE CONCERNS: Several readers have voiced concerns over the way traffic is being routed through work zones on I-40 between Tijeras and Carnuel and between 98th and Coors.
The first is an $8 million roadway rehabilitation project scheduled to run until January 2023. The second is a $19.5 million roadway reconstruction project set to run through this fall. Social media has been busy with reports of numerous wrecks in the former, Kimberly B. and Adolphe contacted me to report huge backups and dozens of wrecks in the latter.
Kim Gallegos of the New Mexico Department of Transportation says of the Tijeras/Carnuel work “I spoke with the project manager, and he explained they are working with the contractor to adjust the signage and traffic control to include lowering the speed limit through the construction zone to 45 mph. NMDOT and the contractor are reviewing the project to see what other changes can be made to improve the flow of traffic and speed in the construction zone. We are also working with law enforcement regarding the speed limit and presence within the project limits.”
Regarding the 98th/Coors work, Gallegos says she again has shared the concerns “with the project manager. He was going to work with the contractor to adjust traffic control in the project limits. Thank you for making us aware of this issue.”
Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; firstname.lastname@example.org; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.