City, State at Odds Over Speed Cameras - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

City, State at Odds Over Speed Cameras

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Jessica Daley


Two plans for traffic cameras are taking a step forward. One is at the state level and one here in the metro.

Both the DOT and Windsor Heights police want to improve safety, they just have different views on how to do that.
This week the Windsor heights city council approved a measure allowing its two mobile speed cameras to be placed anywhere in its jurisdiction including the interstate.
"This was basically a policy decision by the city council," said Police Chief Dennis McDaniel. "They felt it important to make a statement that the city is behind this effort."

That means the cameras could be placed on Westbound I-235. Such a move hasn't been done yet and there is no immediate plan to do so until this spring and summer when a new lane will be added to I-235 from the 63rd to 73rd Street exits.

"We're going to very closely monitor the lay out of this construction area and see if there is a need for an additional safety measure," McDaniel said. "If there is, we're confident we can put it out in such a way that it won't create an additional hazard."

But the DOT isn't on board with that idea and would even remove the camera unit if they felt it was unsafe.
"If you leave something out there very long, eventually it's going to get hit," said Steve Gent, Director of Office of Traffic and Safety with the DOT. "There is the potential for traffic back ups, side swipes."

"I think that's an interesting precedent for them to set. I'd caution them against that," McDaniel said.

Last summer, the DOT denied the city's request to put permanent cameras on the four lane section because it didn't meet their guidelines. Guidelines that as of this week, they want to make state rules through an administrative rules committee.

"We've been hoping the Iowa Legislature would pass a law that would provide some sort of state-wide uniformity," Gent said. "Since they haven't done that, that's really why the department is working to develop new rules."
Meanwhile, a lawsuit is pending between the two entities. Windsor Heights sued the DOT last fall for not allowing the I-235 cameras.

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