The traffic Cameras in Maple Heights are part of a speed enforcement program. They are used to measure the speed of vehicles and issue citations to the those vehicles traveling over a certain speed.
What do the traffic cameras monitor?
Speed of vehicles.
How fast to you need to be going to get a ticket?
11mph over in a regular zone; 6mph over in a school zone.
When are the School Zones enforced?
- Lee Road-7:15 a.m to 8:00 a.m. & 2:35 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.
- Dunham Road-7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m & 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Outside of the hours posted above, the school zone cameras will enforce the regular speed limit.
Where are the cameras located?
Warrensville Rd; Broadway Ave., Lee Road School Zone, Dunham Road School Zone, and E 141st
What is the penalty for speeding?
Will I receive points on my license?
Why Do We Have Traffic Cameras in Maple Heights?
Traffic cameras came to Maple for two reasons: money and enforcement.
The City is in trouble financially. In November of 2013, City Council decided to introducing a tax increase to raise revenue. It failed. Now Maple Heights is in Fiscal Watch with the State Auditor’s office. City officials looked for other ways to raise revenue.
In May, the voters rejected another tax increase. Shortly thereafter, Mayor Jeffery Lansky introduced legislation “to establish an automated speed enforcement program.” Council President Jackie Albers then told The Neighborhood News that this program was a “means of raising revenue in the city.” From the beginning it has been viewed as a source of revenue.
Nonetheless, this program will enable the police department to enforce the traffic laws. “[The traffic cameras will] get a lot more done than we can by doing traffic stops,” said Police Chief John Popielarcyzk. The bottom line, according to the Chief, is that the police force will be so far down on manpower by the end of this year that they will not be in a position to adequately enforce the traffic laws. Installing cameras will enable the police department to enforce the laws more thoroughly, even with less staff.
The Mayor’s legislation was considered at three Special Meetings of City Council. A debate arose concerning the use of the revenues of the program. Councilman Brownlee introduced an amendment that would place the monies into a fund for use only by the police department. It was unsuccessful which meant the revenue would go into the general fund. The legislation was then passed unanimously by City Council.
The traffic cameras in Maple Heights, much like speed traps, have been instituted for two reasons: to raise money and to enforce traffic laws.
How the Program Works
Optotraffic is the company that provides the traffic cameras. These cameras measure speed using a patented laser technology. It measures the amount of time is takes a vehicle to travel the distance of two feet. This gives the camera the speed of the vehicle.
If the vehicle is traveling over the specified limit, it records the speed and takes photographs of the vehicle. The speeds at which the cameras issue a citation are set by City Council. Right now, the ordinance states that vehicles need to be traveling at least 11mph over in a regular zone and 6mph over in school zone to receive a ticket. This means that any vehicle traveling more than 35mph in a 25mph zone will receive a citation.
The information and photographs are sent via a wireless connection to Optotraffic. The license plate number is taken from the pictures by Optotraffic. If the plate is legible, they run it with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to find the owner.
Once the information is complete, the citations are reviewed by the police department. Designated officers trained to use the Optotraffic software double-check the information to ensure its accuracy. Upon approval, the citations are then mailed by Optotraffic to the owner of the vehicle.
The citation itself is rather standard. It provides three photos of the speeding vehicle: a close shot, a wide shot and a closeup of the license plate. The location, time, posted speed limit and vehicle speed are all listed. The recipient is also given all the information needed to make a payment online, by mail or at a drop-box.
The speeding citations issued by the traffic cameras in Maple Heights are civil liability. Parking tickets are another example of a civil liability. This means that no points are assessed on the vehicles owner’s license. They are also not reported to the owner’s insurance company. The penalty is a fine of $100. If not payed by the due date, it increases to $125 then $180.
Appealing the Ticket
Any recipient of a citation can request an administrative hearing. This hearing will be heard before a “Hearing Officer” appointed by the City of Maple Heights. The hearing officer is an independent registered attorney who is not an employee of the City.
To request a hearing, the recipient fills out the appropriate section of the citation. The request must be returned by the due date to the address listed. A fee of $25 is charged for an administrative appeal.
Citations can be appealed for one of three reasons:
- The vehicle was sold prior to the citation.
- The vehicle or license plate was stolen at the time of the citation.
- Another person was driving at the time of the citation
To appeal, the affidavit form on the citation must be completed, notarized and returned prior to the due date listed.
Controversy over Cameras; Chance for Residents to Vote
Shortly after the legislation was passed to install the traffic cameras in Maple Heights, concerned residents started planning a petition drive to stop the cameras. Residents hoped to place a charter amendment banning the use of traffic cameras on the November ballot.
On August 5th, the petition and signatures were delivered to the clerk of council. If the signatures are valid, the residents will have a chance to decide for themselves whether they want traffic cameras in Maple Heights.
A complaint for a writ of mandamus was filed with the Ohio Supreme Court on August 25, 2014. The Court demanded that Maple Heights City Council place the amendment on the ballot in November.
Now residents will have the chance approve a Charter Amendment to ban the cameras.
- Vote “yes” to approve the Charter Amendment that will ban cameras.
- Vote “no” to disapprove the amendment.