Iowa City officials looking to repeal red light camera ordinance - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City officials looking to repeal red light camera ordinance

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Some Iowa City residents have actively fought back against red light cameras.

Opponents have argued they violate civil liberties and are nothing more than a money grab for local governments.

A group of petitioners turned in signatures to outlaw red light cameras earlier in the month.

Thursday, city workers verified their petition.

Staff are now recommending the council, which had approved red light cameras more than a year ago, repeal the ordinance.

"I think red light cameras make things safer, but obviously, not everybody agrees," said Iowa City police chief Sam Hargadine. 

So why the change of heart?

The city has been in a holding pattern, waiting to install the cameras until the Department of Transportation releases new red light camera guidelines.

The opponent's petition may have been the tipping point.

"We had been stalemated anyways, because of the DOT permitting process."

Police would like to see the issue taken up again in the future.

Studies show drivers run some intersections 200 to 300 times each day.

Officials argue cameras would make these areas safer.

"Hopefully someone doesn't get hurt, but with those kinds of numbers, it's inevitable," Hargadine said. 

Just to the north, officials in Cedar Rapids say the cameras, which have been active for three years, do make the roads safer.

"This has made an impact on driver behavior period, not just at those intersections, but all over the city," said Sgt. Cristy Hamblin with the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

The city council will first take up the issue on whether to approve the recommendation to repeal the current ordinance at its May 14th work session.

If repealed, the issue could not be considered again for two years.

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