Albuquerque is using mobile speed cameras. Is Bernalillo County next?

Albuquerque is using mobile speed cameras. Is Bernalillo County next?

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Speed ​​cameras positioned throughout Albuquerque have resulted in about 26,000 citations since the end of May, according to city data.

Now officials are considering whether cameras also belong in the unincorporated parts of Bernalillo County, including the Tramway and Coors corridors.

Bernalillo County Commissioner Walt Benson.

County Commissioner Walt Benson introduced an “automatic speed enforcement ordinance” that would align the county with the city in its efforts to reduce illegal speeding.

The Albuquerque City Council approved the use of mobile speed cameras in 2021, and officials rolled out 10 of them this spring. The city issued 25,998 citations Monday, according to statistics on its website.

The province proposes a similar system. Like the city, it will deploy mobile speed cameras, but rely on a law enforcement officer to verify the camera evidence before actually issuing fines. Violations caught on camera will be civil, not criminal, and cost $100.

The County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to move the bill forward and plans to make a final decision on Jan. 24.

“It’s a safety ordinance to help reduce speeding,” said Benson, who emphasized that his intent is not to generate revenue.

“It also helps to reduce some of the pressure on the sheriff’s department; when a camera can help enforce speeding or driving within the speed limits, it frees up sheriff’s deputies to handle more human-intensive work.”

Deputy County Manager Elias Archuleta said if the commission ultimately approves the bill, the county will likely begin a pilot project with four to 10 cameras. It will take about six to nine months to start, he said.

In particular, Archuleta said that the State Transportation Commission has expressed a willingness to have the county place cameras on state roads within the county. He specifically cited high-speed streetcars and the dangerous Coors Boulevard.

Commissioner Debbie O’Malley said she remembers the public criticism the city received years ago that its now-defunct red-light camera program was all about making money, but that she agrees with Benson’s motives on this.

“I feel we just don’t have the capacity to deal with traffic violations, especially speeding,” she said. “I think you make a good point about officers (being) needed elsewhere.”

The commission also approved a Benson-sponsored “pedestrian safety ordinance” on Tuesday to prohibit anyone from camping, obstructing or otherwise obstructing streets, sidewalks, medians and other public rights of way on “dangerous streets or intersections” in the unincorporated . areas of the country. Archuleta said it would apply to about 44 intersections in the county’s jurisdiction.

The ordinance requires a warning before an officer can proceed to a citation or arrest.

The legislation passed on a 4-1 vote with only O’Malley in opposition.

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