Red-light grace period ending

GLENDALE — Police will stop issuing warnings and start giving tickets on Monday to motorists who violate traffic laws at the red-light-camera-monitored intersection of San Fernando and Los Feliz roads.

That Monday marks the end of a 30-day grace period at the intersection, Glendale police Sgt. Dennis Smith said.

“There have been quite a few warnings issued at that intersection,” Smith said. “The intersection is pretty active.”

Under California law, motorists must be given a grace period before citations are issued at a camera-monitored intersection, Smith said.

The traffic offenses the cameras are looking for are driving through a red light, making a right turn on a red light without stopping and making a left turn on a red light.

The fine for traffic offenses committed at camera-monitored intersections is $380, he said.

Red-light cameras and magnetic sensors were installed May 31 at the intersection of San Fernando and Los Feliz.

The intersection is one of four red-light-camera-monitored intersections, Smith said.

Red-light cameras were installed Feb. 29 at the intersections of Mountain Avenue and Verdugo Road and Colorado Street and Pacific Avenue, and at the intersection of Glendale Avenue and Broadway on March 12.

“The intersections have been more active than we thought,” Smith said.

Steve Mets, who works in Glendale, said he avoids streets he knows are monitored by red-light cameras.

“I hate those things,” he said.

Mets says the cameras are distracting to motorists.

“Nobody wants to go through those intersections, and everybody is scared,” he said.

Dennis Mah, who also works in Glendale, said driving through a camera-monitored intersection can be test a driver's judgment when a light turns yellow.

“Sometimes you don't know whether to take the yellow or not because of the cameras,” he said.

But Mah said he believes the cameras provide traffic safety.

“People need to drive safer,” he said.

The intersections are part of a 12-month pilot program that the City Council approved in March 2007, Glendale Police Lt. Carl Povilaitis said. City and police officials will determine whether they will continue to use the system at the end of the year, he said.

“Our ultimate goal is to improve traffic safety,” Povilaitis said. “Historically, over the last few years traffic safety has been a concern for residents and business owners.”

The cameras cost about $6,000 for each intersection, he said.

The four camera-monitored intersections were chosen due to the high number of traffic collisions at each intersection, Povilaitis said.

“The advantage of the red-light camera is that it doesn't sleep, and it blinks,” he said. “It's like having a police officer at an intersection 24 hours a day and seven days a week.”

Police are looking to install more red-light cameras at busy intersections throughout Glendale but will need permission from the California Department of Transportation, Povilaitis said.

The intersections, he said, are located near freeway entrances.

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