Back in May, when the city of Albuquerque decided to place cameras on roadways prone to speeders, the goal was to slow everybody down.
But the latest numbers, four months into the Automated Speed Enforcement program, reveal we’ve got a lot of miles per hour to go.
First, some context:
In the first few weeks of the program, May 25 through June 13, the inaugural three cameras recorded:
• 55,388 vehicles traveling 11-plus mph over on eastbound Gibson (15 going 60-plus mph over);
• 40,615 vehicles traveling 11-plus mph over on westbound Gibson (five going 60-plus mph over);
• And 14,500 vehicles traveling 11-plus mph over on westbound Montgomery (four going 60-plus mph over).
The posted speed by all three cameras is 40 mph, meaning drivers were topping 100 mph.
The high speeds in late May/early June were 131 mph on westbound Montgomery, 119 mph on eastbound Gibson, 107 mph on westbound Gibson, 90 mph on northbound Unser, 77 mph on eastbound Coal and 70 mph on westbound Lead. At that time both civil citations and warnings were being issued to violators, who could pay the $100 fine or sign up for four hours of community service.
Now only citations are issued.
Earlier this month the Albuquerque Police Department said data showed a drop in speeders on Gibson near San Mateo – a 70% decline in drivers going more than 20 mph over the speed limit, a 50% drop in those going 10 mph over and a decrease of 4 to 5 mph in the average speed there.
But the numbers show Albuquerque drivers are keeping those cameras busy.
MORE, FASTER SPEEDERS IN SEPTEMBER: It’s important to point out the latest information is for a full month and 10 cameras, so it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.
But it’s clear some folks have not gotten the message. According to Scott Cilke with Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development, there were:
• 96,033 vehicles going 11-plus mph over the posted 40 mph on eastbound Gibson (338 going 40-plus mph over);
• 81,252 vehicles going 11-plus mph over the posted 40 mph on westbound Gibson (160 going 40-plus mph over);
• 19,832 vehicles going 11-plus mph over the posted 40 mph on westbound Montgomery (33 going 40-plus mph over);
• 50,987 vehicles going 11-plus mph over the posted 40 mph on northbound Unser (85 going 40-plus mph over);
• 6,342 vehicles going 11-plus mph over the posted 30 mph on eastbound Coal (33 going 40-plus mph over);
• 2,525 vehicles going 11-plus mph over the posted 30 mph on westbound Lead (one going 40-plus over);
• 19,607 vehicles going 11-plus over the posted 35 mph on westbound Central (61 going 40-plus mph over);
• 4,939 vehicles going 11-plus over the posted 40 mph on westbound Lomas (11 going 40-plus over);
• 93,533 vehicles going 11-plus over the posted 40 mph on northbound Unser (152 going 40-plus over);
• 28,947 vehicles traveling 11-plus over the posted 40 mph on southbound San Mateo (21 vehicles going 40-plus over).
Not only are tens of thousands of drivers going more than 11 mph over the posted speed limits in one month, but the top speeds are high as well. Cameras clocked drivers going 150 mph on eastbound Gibson, 133 mph on westbound Gibson, 131 mph on westbound Montgomery, 116 mph on northbound Unser, 95 mph on eastbound Coal, 70 mph on westbound Lead, 96 mph on westbound Central, 96 mph on westbound Lomas, 104 on northbound Unser and 99 mph on southbound San Mateo.
WHERE THE CAMERAS ARE: Cilke also provided an updated list of where the cameras are located – there are now 12, and locations are not secret; the goal is to get drivers to slow down.
Cameras are on eastbound and westbound Gibson between Carlisle and San Mateo, westbound Montgomery between Wyoming and Eubank, westbound Lead at Mesa, eastbound Coal at Cornell, westbound Central at Tingley and New York, westbound Lomas at Virginia, southbound San Mateo near Montgomery, northbound Unser at Tower, northbound Unser at Western Trail, Coors at Fortuna and Coors at St. Josephs.
Readers might remember the state had banned speed and red-light cameras on state roads like Paseo del Norte and Coors. Cilke says “we received approval from the state to place these cameras on Coors.”
$600K IN FINES PAID: Readers often ask if anyone is paying their fines. The city website shows 14,701 citations issued May 25 through Oct. 17. Cilke says “s o far, the program has collected over $600,000 in fines. As of now, approximately 250 individuals have signed up for community service and have completed around 250 hours. There are a number of options for community service, but the primary place we’ve seen participation is with Road Runner Food Bank.”
The city plans to issue an annual report showing the progress of the program because the impact of the cameras on driver behavior “would not be accurately depicted over shorter time periods.”
We’ll have to wait and see if Albuquerque drivers slow down over the long haul.
Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; email@example.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.