Longview police issued nearly 900 school-zone speeding cameras during the first week of school earlier this month, the agency reported this week.
That’s at least $100,000 for the city’s public safety fund and the Arizona company that runs the cameras.
To compare, the agency issued 10,000 tickets in all of 2014, though 15,000 tickets were mailed out during spring semester alone this year.
The school-zone cameras last spring were recalibrated to be more sensitive to those going slightly over the 20 mph speed limit. As a result, tickets shot up — 1,800 tickets were issued during a peak week in April after the cameras were tweaked.
Information for which school zones netted the most tickets during the first week of fall semester was not available Wednesday, but a majority of past tickets have been coming from 15th Avenue in front of Mark Morris High School.
According to camera statistics, more tickets are typically issued during the first month of school as drivers readjust to the cameras being on — though the speed limit is 20 mph at many school zones even in the summer.
The police department urges drivers to slow down through the entirety of school zones — not just the first few feet.
City engineer Craig Bozarth said that new signage — flashing beacons with speed feedback readouts — probably won’t be installed until November. The materials for those signs won’t be available until the end of October, he said.
The photo-enforced school zones will get them first, and eventually all school zones will carry the new signs, paid for by the photo-enforced tickets. Tickets start at $124.
Speed feedback signs will measure a driver’s speed coming into the school zone.
On Thursday night, the City Council will consider a grant for a traffic light at Mark Morris Court and 15th Avenue. The light would cost the city about $15,000 and do away with the school zone there — and the traffic cameras.
At an August meeting, Council members unanimously opposed the light.
The contract with American Traffic Solutions — the Arizona company that runs the cameras and takes a cut of the fines — expires at the end of 2016.