Q&A: Does photo radar make Paradise Valley streets more safe?

Paradise Valley Councilman Jerry Bien-Willner was asked a few questions about what he thought about the usage of photo radar within Paradise Valley town limits that were not included in the Jan. 21 article, “Photo radar safety impacts hard to decipher while revenue machine is undeniable.”

Here is what he had to say:

•In general, what do you think the photo radar equipment specifically meant to detect speeding motorists is for?

Jerry Bien-Willner

Jerry Bien-Willner

The equipment serves several purposes. It allows our officers to stay on patrol and respond to calls, rather than hanging around in “speed traps” or actively looking for speeding violations. With the town’s limited government model, dedicating officers to traffic duties when that work can be done using technology is not the best use of the town’s resources. Of course, if our officers see dangerous activity on the roads, they respond appropriately. I also believe that the town’s use of photo radar tends to divert non-residents — or at least those who may be inclined to speed — away from our streets. That is also a plus.

•If I have a photo radar device at an intersection — or on the side of the road leading to an intersection — should we see more or fewer accidents at that intersection compared to a period of time when the camera did not exist?

It’s hard to say, as there are many factors that would seem to go into answering that question, including traffic count before and after the photo radar equipment, other changes in the intersection and traffic patterns generally, among other things. Also, the answer may not be binary in nature, as accidents that do happen may be less severe if speeds are lower. In any event, I’d be pressed to understand how the technology could hurt.

•In your opinion, are the streets of Paradise Valley made more safe for motorists and pedestrians due to the usage of photo radar equipment?

Yes. I do believe that photo radar helps to modify behavior by keeping cars out of our town and by calming and slowing traffic that is here. The technology also permits our officers to focus on patrol and policing, rather than covering the speeding and traffic enforcement that is handled by the town’s technology investments.

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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