how do you spell revenue in scottsdale - photo radar.

its not about safety its about $$$cash$$$$

Slow down or smile for camera on Loop Digital patrolling begins today on 101 in Scottsdale

Carol Sowers The Arizona Republic Jan. 22, 2006 12:00 AM

With speeds clocked as high as 127 mph, Loop 101 through Scottsdale has a reputation for being as much raceway as freeway.

But starting today, Scottsdale will become the first city in the nation to digitally patrol its stretch of the highway. Cameras will snap photos of drivers traveling 11 mph or more over the 65 mph speed limit, and warning citations will be mailed to those drivers.

The grace period will expire at 12:01 a.m. Feb. 21, when the system will generate citations averaging $157 for speeders who hit 76 mph.

Scottsdale has explored using photo enforcement on Loop 101 since 2003. The idea finally won approval from the Arizona Department of Transportation last month.

The city's nine-month test program will gather data to determine if photo enforcement curbs speed and accidents. If successful, the program could be taken over by another agency or the Scottsdale City Council could approve continuing the program, said Mary O'Connor, Scottsdale's transportation general manager.

The program has a budget of $10 million, and Scottsdale has spent more than $136,000 on freeway signs, brochures, radio spots and public meetings announcing that the cameras are coming.

"Our hope is that everybody has the word and that it is no surprise when the cameras go live," said Mike Phillips, a spokesman for Scottsdale.

The cameras are at six locations on a 7.8-mile stretch between Scottsdale Road and 90th Street.

The stretch of freeway that Scottsdale is targeting averaged more than one accident a day in 2004, an increase of more than 140 collisions from the previous year, according a Maricopa Association of Governments report.

Scottsdale said their test program is a response to residents' concerns about driving on Loop 101.

John Lutz, 66, of Scottsdale, is pleased.

"I'm 100 percent for photo enforcement," he said. "Now I wish that the pictures they take of the drivers could be blown up to show if they are also talking on a cellphone."

Not everyone is a fan of Scottsdale's approach to slowing traffic on Loop 101.

Some lawmakers, for example, have proposed bills ranging from banning the technology from all state freeways to making sure Scottsdale won't profit from the citations.

O'Connor said the city won't make a dime from photo enforcement.

Revenue from citations will be used to defray $6 million in Scottsdale's start-up costs for the nine-month project. About 46 percent of each ticket goes to the state, and additional funds are set aside for Scottsdale City Court and Redflex Traffic Systems, the city's photo-enforcement contractor.

Meanwhile, Arizona Department of Public Safety officers will continue their patrols of Loop 101.

A version of this story may have appeared in your community section or your community Republic.

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