HOUSTON – The red-light cameras are back on in Houston and, technically, not all of the red-light cameras are issuing tickets.
But HPD will not reveal which are and are not. The department said it is still evaluating the system, including the placement of the cameras.
Of the 70 red-light camera locations in the city, there are several intersections that stand out as generating the most tickets. In fact, between the top five locations, there have been more than 50,000 tickets issued in just a year.
The fifth-highest number of tickets came from the camera at Wilcrest northbound at the Southwest Freeway, with 8,032 tickets in the fiscal year 2010.
The next-highest location is on the north side of Houston. Westbound Greens Road at the North Freeway has produced 8,171 tickets.
The third-highest is Hillcroft and the Southwest Freeway Feeder, which has generated 8,680 tickets.
There is a big jump up at the second-highest ticket intersection — Westheimer eastbound at 610 Loop. That location produced 9,904 tickets in 2010.
Drivers like Sam Feleki have a theory about this one.
“Especially in this area, if you don’t make the light, you know that you are going to wait for another five minutes. Everybody has places to go you know,” he said.
Then there is the huge leading location of Bellaire at the Southwest Freeway, with 16,008 violations.
We watched the light for 10 cycles and saw the white flash of 15 potential tickets, all with one thing in common — right-on-red turns.
Robbi Duggins Jr. drives through the intersection all the time.
“You are going to turn even if the light is on red,” he said.
Chanell Mathews watched with us and said it was clear what was happening.
“Basically, if you are not making a complete stop before you turn you just got yourself a ticket,” Mathews said.
“I’m with it, and I am also against it. Like I said, that turn is going to kill everybody,” Duggins said.
HPD would only say that there was no solid evidence of what may be pushing the citation numbers at these intersections, but it seemed that traffic density may have something to do with it.
There are also low-citation locations, like the camera at Brazos and Elgin in Midtown. In 2010, that camera issued 249 citations — about as many in a month as we saw in an hour on Bellaire.