Aurora City Council approves photo speed pilot program

Aurora drivers with lead feet will have to watch out now that the City Council has approved a photo speed pilot program to catch them.

The Aurora City Council approved the 13-month program on Monday night by a 8-2 vote, with Council members Dustin Zvonek and Curtis Gardner opposed. The city plans to launch an educational campaign about the upcoming enforcement, and for the first 30 days of the program, drivers won’t get tickets for speeding. Drivers can expect to see a warning in advance of the speed traps.

One unit could be placed in each of the city’s three police districts, depending on where the most speeding is occurring.

After that first month, the program will continue for a year and the City Council will review that data collected before deciding whether to keep the vehicle-based laser speed technology system.

The program is meant to help police monitor speed in residential areas and school zones and to automatically issue citations for speeding. Speeding tickets in residential areas would cost drivers $40.

“Nationally, there’s a 7% increase in fatalities, Colorado a 16% increase in fatalities, Aurora a 54% increase in fatalities,” Council member Steve Sundberg said. “I had a town hall on the subject of traffic calming and it was well attended and it was impassioned at times that our city’s simply not doing enough.”

Council member Juan Marcano said the program is not the answer to all of Aurora’s traffic problems but could make a difference.

“Motor vehicles actually contribute to a tremendous amount of fatalities in the United States,” Marcano said. “I think that it’s one of the few things that’s lagging behind drug use, unfortunately, these days, so I don’t see these this pilot program as a solution in and of itself. My hope is that this will have a determining effect in the short term.”

Zvonek and Gardner opposed the program, noting that Aurora residents voted against red-light cameras at intersections in 2018. Gardner said he would prefer to see more police hired as the department deals with recruiting issues rather than more cameras in the city.

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