Mountain View Voice

News - March 23, 2012

Grant Road cameras monitor traffic, not people

by Daniel DeBolt

A new set of cameras installed at intersections along Grant Road aren't there to monitor people or catch them breaking the law, says City Manager Dan Rich.

"They are detection cameras that are part of the city's new adaptive signal timing system," said Rich in an email. "The cameras detect cars, which allows the electronic traffic control system to adjust the signal timing based on real-time traffic conditions to ease traffic on Grant Road."

In a letter to the editor this week resident Peggy Aoki said she noticed that the cameras were installed on every intersection on Grant Road within the last two weeks.

"Some of them are high enough to look into backyards and windows, it would seem," she wrote. "I feel like I'm in a creepy big-brother futuristic film."

Rich said the cameras are in a fixed position so they can't be pointed away from the road.

"While traffic engineering staff can view the roadway through the cameras, they will not be monitored regularly by anyone or anything except the electronic traffic control system (which is only monitoring the speed and volume of cars)," Rich said.

And if people are still worried about being recorded, Rich added, "There is no video recording equipment with the system."

Public Works Director Mike Fuller said the Grant Road system was the first such installation for the city and cost $420,000. Three-quarters of the funding came from a grant. If the system proves effective it may also be used to ease traffic on other high traffic streets such as Shoreline Boulevard and Rengstorff Avenue, Fuller said.

Email Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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