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Expansion of Denver's red-light program gets a red light, at least for now

Denver City Council opted to reevaluate rather than expand its red light camera program at its meeting on Wednesday.

Denver will not add any more red-light cameras at intersections across the city, at least for now. That's what city council members unanimously decided during its latest meeting on Wednesday. 

Instead, city engineers and the police department will test whether making yellow lights longer will improve safety.

Councilman Kevin Flynn has been outspoken about kinks in Denver's red-light program, and was able to convince the council that a reevaluation of the yellow-light timing system is needed.

WATCH | Denver City Council strikes down red-light camera expansion

Flynn said he tested the system on his own time and found that at two out of three intersections where the cameras would be added, the yellow light times are shorter than they should be, based on Denver’s formula. 

“We do know that when you appropriately set the yellow times, virtually all drivers will come to a stop except for intentional red light runners who truly are few and far between,” Flynn said.

At Wednesday's meeting, Flynn, who represents a swath of southwest Denver, cited a city in California where red light cameras gave out an average of 249 tickets per month until traffic engineers adjusted the yellow light timing. Flynn said after that, that number dropped to just one ticket being issued every six days. 

The city's contract for the program also listed incorrect intersections for where the cameras would live. New cameras were pitched to be installed at 13th and Lincoln and 18th and Lincoln. 

A camera at 6th Avenue and Kalamath Street would be removed and replaced with a camera at Alameda Avenue and Santa Fe Drive. 

It could take up to nine months for engineers to reevaluate the system. In that time, no more red-light cameras will be added in Denver. 

If it is decided the cameras are still needed, Flynn said at least they can tell drivers they've done everything they can before having to resort to cameras.