If Legal Questions Are Resolved, Stop-Arm Cameras On City School Buses Makes Sense
As long as there are no unanticipated legal issues, the Jamestown City Council should approve a program to install stop arm cameras on Jamestown Public Schools District buses.
The program has been approved by the city school board, but council members have questions about the program that have yet to be answered. Councilwoman Kim Ecklund, R-At Large, said many of the question she asked the first time the resolution was presented to the council have yet to be answered, with the only difference between the first time and the third time the program was proposed a minor language tweak. Councilwoman Marie Carrubba, D-Ward 4, expressed concerns about liability the city may face for approving the cameras even though the city isn’t operating the system.
Both are valid concerns that city staff should be able to answer before bringing the idea before the council again.
Then, in our opinion, as long as there are no potential future issues for the city, the program should be approved. There should be no excuse — particularly in a city where most people should be driving 30 miles an hour — for drivers to be passing stopped school buses.
Mayor Eddie Sundquist and the council have also flirted with the idea of school zone speed cameras over the past couple of years. While there is similarly no reason for drivers to speed through school zones, the performance of the prior speed camera provider raised a litany of red flags. The release of new traffic data by the Jamestown Police Department included accidents in school zones in 2022 . There were 29 vehicle accidents last year in schools zones, identified by JPD as occurring between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, from January to June and September to December. There were nine such crashes at Love Elementary School along with six at Jamestown High School. Numbers were similar in 2021, with four accidents reported at Persell Middle School.
So perhaps it makes sense to bring to the council a speed camera proposal that limits their use in the three most dangerous school zones for accidents — Love, Jamestown High School and Persell Middle School. The other zones seem to have far fewer incidents, and in our opinion limiting the speed zone camera program to areas where there are actually problems makes the entire program seem like less of a money grab by the city.