POLL: Should Malden Use Red-Light Cameras?

The city council is seeking state approval to install such cameras at some intersections in the city.

This week, the city council voted to seek approval from the state legislature for red camera lights in the city that could automatically issue tickets to those who fail to stop at major intersections.

Groups like the Masachusetts Police Chiefs Association and AAA are in favor of the cameras, saying they can help reduce crime without the cost of adding additional officers to the payroll.

Others, such as the ACLU of Massachusetts, criticize the cameras for decreasing certain kinds of crashes while increasing the likelihood of others, as well as concerns about due process and privacy.

But readers – what do you think? Is there a particularly busy intersection in which you'd like to see a red light camera? Think it's a dumb idea? Take our poll below and let us know in the comments. 

Michael B Elvale May 17, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Great idea, and then use the money generated to build that new East side fire station.
Jim May 17, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Definitely begin using the camera system which I believe and could be mistaken was put in decades ago through a federal grant. Traffic has become intolerable and people flying through red lights at intersections have increased ten fold. I would rather pay a ticket for carelessness than see somebody's life lost because of unlawful and reckless driving.
iCitizen May 17, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Malden T-Station is often terrible to drive by. Cars drive trough the light, pedestrians cross on green, and taxis/buses blocking traffic. Good times.
Opie May 17, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Who would write the actual ticket? By law it must be an actual police officer with the appropriate jurisdiction and chapter 90 powers.
Jim May 17, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Thanks Toni G. Interesting information! There is always flip side to these important issues. The facts are very important when considering these sort of things. I appreciated your input.
david mokal May 17, 2012 at 06:36 PM
YES >>>YES>>>YES ! They are a Must have in todays society.
david mokal May 17, 2012 at 06:44 PM
There are many reasons to have the cameras. I dont believe they cause accidents.Remember you are to have full control of your vehicle at all times. Its not putting an officer out of work. We do not live in the same Malden like we were as kids. Times have changed more car jackings ..breakins..robberies..and worse. It makes it safer for everyone weather you walk or drive. More eyes...Less crime.
AnnieOMalden May 17, 2012 at 06:48 PM
During a visit to Australia in 1987 we were told about the installation of these red light cameras. As they didn't have enough money to put one in every spot, they had the casing installed and would move the cameras around so no one really knew where they were! Toni is right tho about the number of rear end accidents-we were almost in a few!
Kelly Ilebode May 17, 2012 at 08:18 PM
I really would need more information to make an informed decision. Malden tends to just jump right into something doesnt it?. What are the statistics? How does it help reduce crime? Are there more urgent needs in Malden that we should be focusing on? Who is going to monitor and maintain and repair cameras. How much is ALL that going to cost and who is footing the bill on that.......my list goes on and on...
LI May 17, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Yes. Please install them,
MaMa G. May 18, 2012 at 01:34 AM
MaMaG yes yes it is a drag race between 1: 00 am & 4:am on Ferry & Cross Streets going down towards Main Street
Tony H. May 18, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Overall, I'm in favor of red light cameras. The statistics show cameras increase bumper accidents from drivers stopping short, but average death rates falling. I would prefer a driver stopping short and getting bumped rather than a driver continuing through the red light and causing a more serious accident, like hitting a bike rider (my neighbor was struck by a car running a red and ended up in a body cast), a walker (my girlfriend was hit at Medford and Pearl intersection), or a car (me!) when we are crossing with a green light.
Lori Sullivan May 18, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Absolutely install them! Some of these intersections are a nightmare. No one recognizes any more that YELLOW means slow down and stop. Red means STOP! More and more people feel the need to be the last one through a light whether it's yellow or red. The Intersection at Medford St. and Commercial St. is one place that would generate a ton of revenue. Start hitting people where it hurts. Like their wallet.
Cathy May 18, 2012 at 06:33 PM
I am a little confused. What does a camera have to do with rear-end accidents?
Tony H. May 18, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Picture Driver A about to run a red light. At the last second, Driver A remembers cameras at the intersection will capture them. Driver A doesn't want a ticket, so they stop short to avoid entering the intersection. Driver A then gets hit from Driver B (behind Driver A) because thye were following too close and didn't have enough time to stop short as well.
moxie May 19, 2012 at 01:10 AM
What if every driver had to pass Driver's Ed? Every Year? Perhaps that could help offset the costs of cameras, maintenance, frustration...oh, and if the cameras are installed, could they disable cell phones? Just expressing my ideal wishes.
Lisa May 21, 2012 at 10:03 PM
While these cameras might assist, the city really needs to address the reasons for the red light running in the first place. Could the lights on Route 60 be timed to actually move traffic along? Could the signage be better throughout the city? Many of the reasons people run the red lights is because it can take 25-30 mins (!!!!) to get from Malden center to the 93! That is 2 miles! Not that this should be an excuse, but it might help to explain. Raised crosswalks in and around the schools, enforcement of speed limits and other basics could net the city money, make the city safer and actually improve the situation without the question of the enforceability of cameras coming into play. Please consider these suggestions. Thanks!
Jim May 22, 2012 at 05:04 PM
I've read all the comments and appreciate the fact that everyone keeps things very civil about this issue. We all want the same thing...Safety! Unfortunately, the roads have gotten busier because our city is being used as a cut through for many drivers avoiding Rte 93 or Rte One going to and from home and work. We need to something to slow drivers down by any means at our disposal. Hopefully the idea of receiving a ticket for speeding or going thru red light will deter people from flying around Malden.
coldwaterdiver May 22, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Is it too much to just ask the police to do their job? Just today I drove past a "detail" officer on highland ave, back turned to traffic, chatting away on the phone. At lease he wasnt texting I guess. I dont speed in Belmont because I know that I'll get pulled over. I dont have that concern in Malden. Just look a the illegal parking going on every day at the dunkin dunuts across the street from the police station/city hall on commercial street. Lynn st and Rt 60 are race tracks at times. Salem street seems like a two lane road. I dont like the thought of "robo-tickets", seems like its too invasive and just plain lazy, plus, it removes the opportunity for officers to make arrests for other things including drunk driving, which only makes the roads safer.
coldwaterdiver May 22, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Thats more of a population problem, too many people in too small a space. Too many building permits and variances granted, not just in Malden but in the other towns you have to drive though to get anywhere. Add to that the abandonment of the neighborhood school concept, where it made sense to walk to school, (which also nurtured a closer knit community) so now parents have to drive there children to every corner of the city before they go to school, you have a lot of people in a small space.
Gene Pinkham May 22, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Companies such as LaserCraft who operate Red Light Programs have been caught shortening the Yellow Light duration. Remember. The company that runs the program gets a cut of the fines. Federal Law requires a three second Yellow Duration minimum.
coldwaterdiver May 22, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I'm sorry but does that really matter? Driver B would clearly be at fault for not giving him/herself enough stop room. What if driver A is distracted and only notices the red light at last second before stopping? Still driver B's fault. The only instance where I would agree the cameras are to blame, is if in conjuction with the camera, the yellow light time is shortened, as alleged somewhere in these comments.
coldwaterdiver May 22, 2012 at 07:02 PM
much like those lovable trashbags, the reason for installing the cameras would be for the money. The companies promise millions in increased revenues, which I guess the companies get a slice of, but will they make Malden a better place to live? I doubt it, and like the trash bags, the revenue will probably fall short of expectations.
DannyBoy May 23, 2012 at 05:05 AM
Again, the city council fumbles the ball again (just like the pit bull muzzling ordinance). This is a total waste of taxpayer money if it's implemented. Let's take the busy intersection of Centre St and Main St: they could improve the flow and safety of traffic just by modifying the traffic lights to add a left turn signal both ways on Main St, and going westbound on Centre St (it makes me wonder why they have it only on the eastbound side and not the westbound side of Centre St.). Modifying traffic lights and reconfiguring roadways at major intersections would go a long way towards improving traffic flow and safety patterns around Malden.
coldwaterdiver May 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM
I dont know, pay attention, direct two way traffic. Bus drivers arent allowed to use phones on the job. There's times at my job that phone use is prohibited. If there is a shortage of officers because they are doing details instead of setting up in high incident areas to catch people running red lights and speeding its a problem. If the officer is being paid to do a detail but is chatting on the phone not paying attention, its a problem. I can think of no reason for the phone use while being on paid detail, they have two way radios if they need to communicate work related issues.
Chris Caesar May 23, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Maybe I'm wrong but I think Jazz may be eluding to the possibility the call may have been for police business.


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