RED LIGHT CAMERAS
www.highwayrobbery.net

Email Address
Site Index

If you haven't already done so, please read the Fremont section on the Camera Towns page

City of Fremont Documents
(and Information)

Fremont, pop. 190,000, is in the East Bay, 10 miles north of San Jose and 25 miles southeast of San Francisco.


Fremont is a RedFlex town.  Many RedFlex towns send out "Snitch Tickets," which you can ignore.  A Snitch Ticket will not have the Superior Court's name and address on it.  For more details, see the Snitch Ticket section on the Your Ticket page.


If you have a Fremont red light camera ticket or speeding ticket, please be sure to contact me, and also be sure to look at the Countywide Information, on the
Oakland Documents page.



East Bay Voters:

Do you live in the South end of Alameda County or the North end of Santa Clara County - State Sen. Ellen Corbett's former District?

In 2014 Sen. Corbett "termed out," and has been replaced by this person

Wieckowski, author anti-motorist bill AB 666
 
Wieckowski, Author of the anti-motorist bills SB 1 and AB 666

who will be running for re-election in 2018 and 2022.

Please don't vote for him.

Send him back home to his bankruptcy law practice.

As of 2017 he is in the State Legislature in Sacramento and was a co-author of SB 1 (raises gas tax and car registration fees beginning Nov. 2017).  In 2013 he was the author of AB 666 which - had it passed - would have increased the number of red light camera tickets.  Before reaching the Legislature he was a member of the Fremont City Council, and during his time on the council he approved two extensions of Fremont's contract with RedFlex:  He was the maker of the 2005 motion to extend the contract to 2010, and in 2010 he made the motion to extend the contract to June 2017.




"According to City of Fremont Staff, other safety features to improve safety and discourage red light violations were not considered prior to the installations of the ARLE systems at either study intersection.  To date, the City is satisfied with the operational benefits of the current ARLE system and have not explored other possible countermeasures."
From 2016 independent study commissioned by the City.  See Set # 9, below.




Fremont Docs Set # 1
Is There a Quota in Fremont?  Is It Corrupt or Just Inept?  Refunds: Fractional

"I believe that Americans should be deeply skeptical of government power."
James Comey, Director of the FBI 2013 - 2017, on 60 Minutes, Oct. 12, 2014

New  2-5-17, updated 6-5-17

2015 - 2017:  Ticketing Way Down, Then Way Up, Then Way Down!

Immediately after the new rule requiring longer yellows took effect on Aug. 1, 2015 (see Defect # 2 on the Home page for more info about the new rule), Fremont's ticketing dropped to about half of what it had been, and stayed low through November 2015.  Then in December, ticketing began to go back up and by February 2016 it had almost doubled, with most of the sudden increase coming from two cameras on Mowry.  Ticketing by those two cameras stayed high until November 2016, when it dropped by 3/4.
Between Feb. and Oct. 2016, approx. 4000 extra tickets were issued.


See Table B in Set # 2, below, for detailed ticket counts.


So, what happened on Mowry?

We think that the wild oscillations in ticketing were caused by multiple changes to the lengths of the yellows, as shown in this timeline.


Table 1, by highwayrobbery.net

Notes for Table 1

Note 1:  Portions of the City's 2001 Engr. & Traffic Survey (ETS) were received in 2006, by postal mail from the City.  The full 2001 ETS book
(Part A  Part B) was received in Mar. 2017 via email from the City

Note 2:  The City's 2008 Engr. & Traffic Survey (ETS) book was found on the City's website, by Google, in Dec. 2017.  There is no direct link to it on the City's current website. (See pdf pages 97 and 98.)

Note 3:  The City's spreadsheet dated 8/18/15 was received on 4/25/16 via email from the City.

Note 4:  The City's signal timing charts dated 8/19/15 and 4/22/16 (30 MB file) were received on 4/25/16 via email from the City.  (See pdf pages 70, 77, 78, 88, 89, 90 and 97 - 98.)  The City's signal timing charts dated 2/21/17 were received on 2/24/17 via email from the City.

Note 5:  The City's 2015 "Final" Engr. & Traffic Survey book (cover date 11/5/15, revision of 2/16/16)  also is available on the City's website, at fremont.gov > departments > transportation engineering > transportation data.  (See pdf pages 24 and 203 - 204.)

Note 6:  The 3/10/15 field survey sheet for Mowry, which was replaced by a survey sheet dated 9/24/15 prior to the 11/5/15 publication of the  "Final" ETS book, was first obtained on 1/23/17, by KPIX.  It was also found in the June 2015 Draft Engr. & Traffic Survey book, which was received on 2/24/17 via email from the City.

Note 7:  Statement by Public Works Director Hans Larsen, in Feb. 22 East Bay Times article.


In a Feb. 3, 2017 TV interview the City denied that it had made any changes to the yellows on Mowry.

“We had student interns that were helping us update the records,” said Hans Larsen, Fremont’s public works director. “Unfortunately, in a few cases, some of the information that was on those pieces of paper wasn’t accurate and doesn’t represent what was actually done out in the field at the traffic signals,” said Larsen.

He says even though it may look that way, the yellow lights were never actually shortened. People will hear that and say ‘oh really? Blame it on the intern?’ But Larsen insists: “What we are talking about is what is written on a piece of paper. I mean the issue here is, is the yellow timing out at the intersection in compliance with state laws? The answer is yes.”

As for the spike in tickets over nine months last year Larsen says it’s partly more traffic but also what he describes as the “rebound effect.”

From KPIX broadcast, 2-3-17.


It was obvious to the public that the City's attempt to blame "more traffic" or the "rebound effect" was inconsistent with the suddenness of the Feb. 1, 2016 increase, and after a few weeks Public Works Director Larsen admitted that the yellows had indeed been shortened.  (East Bay Times, 2-22-17.)

(For more info about rebound, see FAQ # 6.)

So, why did the City change the yellows?

It all started when the City lengthened the yellows to 4.7 seconds on Aug. 1, 2015, the deadline to comply with the new rule requiring longer yellows.  City staff used the 85th% from the field survey sheet from Mar. 2015; that 47.5 mph 85th% required a 4.7 yellow.

That 47.5 mph 85th% presented the City with two problems.  The new 4.7 yellows cut ticket production by the two cameras to 1/4 of the previous rate and, had the 47.5 mph 85th% been allowed to remain in the records, it would have forced an increase in the posted speed limit

So someone - probably senior City staff - then hand annotated a copy of the original survey in red (below) to show the preferred end result. 


From the Mar. 2015 draft surveys, as annotated (in red) by City staff.    Part 1 (17 MB)   Part 2  (17 MB)


Next, it appears that someone else - possibly Kimley-Horn, the traffic engineering firm the City hired to do the speed survey project - disagreed with the "downgrade to be consistent with adjacent street segment" excuse for lowering the speed on Mowry.   (See NOTES in the Mowry portion of the Re-survey List, imaged below.)

Fremont manipulated 2015 Mowry speed survey
  Mowry Portion of Re-survey List dated Sept. 15, 2015 (green shading added)

In November 2015 they published the "Final" ETS book, and for Mowry it showed (below) that within nine days of the creation of the Re-survey List they had re-surveyed Mowry and had managed to obtain an 85th% of 39.0 to replace the 47.5 found in the March 2015 survey sheet.  That dramatically lower 85th% allowed the retention of the 40 mph speed limit called for in the red ink annotated copy of the March survey (above), and would later be used as justification for the Feb. 1, 2016 shortening of the yellows.

Fremont spd survey Nov 2015 (after tweak)
From the "Final" ETS book, published Nov. 2015, revision of Feb. 2016.  See Note 5 above, for link to the book.


(The Mowry Avenue field survey sheet from March, with its 47.5 85th%, was not included in the "Final" ETS book, of course.  The first evidence pointing to the existence of the March survey sheet was the 47.5 mph 85th% shown - instead of 39.0 - in the Aug. 2015 spreadsheet the City sent us in Apr. 2016.  See Note 3, above.)

The City was not required to shorten the yellows to conform with the 39.0 mph 85th% they published in the "Final" ETS book.  It is optional - CVC 21455.7 says, "A yellow light change interval may exceed the minimum interval..." - but on Feb. 1, 2016 they went ahead and shortened the yellows to 4.0, even though they should have been able to predict that the dramatically shorter yellows would increase red light running and make the intersections more dangerous.

In late 2016 the 4.7 yellows came back!  We don't know for sure the date the City made the change, but the ticket counts suggest it was in October and some signal logs (highlighting added by City) say it may have been Oct. 24.  The return to 4.7 yellows may have happened because City employees became concerned that they could be prosecuted for switching the surveys. 
It's interesting that after the yellows were returned to 4.7, ticketing did not immediately drop all the way down to the late 2015 levels; at Mowry/Blacow it was twice as high during the first two months after the change.
 

A Fractional Refund - And, the Yellows May be Shortened Again

In the Feb. 22 East Bay Times article where the City first admitted that it had shortened the yellows - it continued to blame an intern for the error - it revealed that it would ask the court to refund approx. 1000 tickets issued during the first two months after the yellows were shortened.  The EBT reported: 
"(Public Works Director) Larsen said the two-month time frame is fair because drivers presumably could have adjusted to the shorter yellow lights after a while. That means the recipients of more than 3,000 other tickets issued during the rest of the nine-month stretch of shorter yellow lights won’t be reimbursed."
On Mar. 9 the City issued a press release which said:
"Any motorist who is determined to have been affected by an automated red-light citation at these intersections between February 1, 2016, through April 7, 2016, will be contacted by the City of Fremont via US mail."

Here it should be noted that as of Feb. 2017 the City had $302 million in the bank, up $26 million from Feb. 2016.

The Feb. 22 EBT article also said:
"He (Larsen) said for consistency, the city will eventually change all the yellow times across the Mowry Avenue corridor to 4.3 seconds."

An Apr. 13 East Bay Times article quoted the Court as saying that it cannot refund the (approx.) 1000 tickets because the fine money has already been distributed and cannot be retrieved.  The Court also announced:

“Institutionally or globally, we’re not doing anything.“ "If people still feel they were incorrectly
assessed that amount, they can always come in and get in front of one of our traffic commissioners and
make their case, and seek to have a traffic commissioner order a refund.”

(It should be noted that when the City of  South San Francisco had a nearly identical situation, involving 6000 tickets, the city and its superior court were able to arrange a full refund and expungement of all the tickets.)


Latest News

On May 10, 2017 the City issued a press release announcing that the City was working to refund $147 to 672 of the (approx. 4000) motorists ticketed.  In a story (archived copy) it broadcast later that day, KTVU wrote: 

"(Public Works Director) Larsen said the City can't rebate the entire ticket since 70 percent of it goes to state and county programs which are out of the City's control." 

Larsen also claimed:

"There isn't any recourse that we have to dismiss a ticket that was valid and legally issued."  "It's a challenging issue and there isn't a perfect solution."

(It should be noted - again - that when the City of  South San Francisco had a nearly identical situation, the city and its superior court were able to arrange a full refund and expungement of all the tickets.)


Do You Have One of These Tickets?

Please contact me.

Now that it is clear that both Fremont and the Alameda County Court are wiggling out of refunding the fines and clearing motorists' records, you should consider contacting your state legislators (assemblyperson and state senator).  And, while you have them on the phone, consider talking to them about the bill to allow speed cameras (photo radar - speeding tickets mailed to you), which is currently moving through the State Legislature in Sacramento.  It is AB 342, and more details about it are on the Action/Legis page.  


The ups and downs were not confined to Mowry Avenue.  See Set # 9, below, about the cameras on Mission.


Speeding Ticket?

If you have a speeding ticket anywhere in Fremont, you should be concerned as it wasn't just Mowry Avenue that was re-surveyed in late 2015.  Eleven other street segments were re-surveyed.  This table of 85th Percentile speeds and recommended posted speeds shows that even though the initial recommendation (probably by Kimley-Horn, the engineering firm the City hired to conduct the surveys) was to increase the posted speed on ten of the twelve segments, when it was all over there were no increases.

Fremont ETS Surveys:  Road Segments Surveyed Twice in 2015








Street

2001
2008
June
Called
Nov.
Segment
Segment

Final
Final
2015
for in Red
2015
# in


Survey
Survey
Draft
Annotated
"Final"
2015


Book
Book
Survey
2015
Survey
Surveys




Book
Survey
Book





Recc.



Blacow
Central to
Thornton

85th %
42 avg
39.7
42.9

39.6
16
Recc. Posted
35 & 40
35
40
-
35








Central
Fremont
to Blacow

85th % 39 avg
40.6
42.7

37.6
22
Recc. Posted 35
35
40
35
35








Fremont
Mowry to Stevenson
85th % 42 avg
45.7
43.8

34.1
52
Recc. Posted 35 & 40
40
40
35
35








Kato
Warm Springs to Milmont
85th % 52
38.5
46.3

43.5
74
Recc. Posted 40
40
45
-
40








Kato
Milmont to Warren
85th % 36 avg
43.9
49.5

38.6
75
Recc. Posted 35
40
50
45
40








Mowry
Argonaut to I-880
85th % 47.0
45.4
47.5

39.0
87
Recc. Posted 40
40
45
40
40








Osgood
Washington
to Grimmer

85th % 39.5 avg
43.6 avg
46.7 avg

44.9
94
Recc. Posted 35 & 40
40
45
40
40








Paseo Padre
Ardenwood to Fremont *
85th % 47 avg
43.0
45.9

45.2
99*
Recc. Posted 35 & 40
40
45
-
40








Paseo Padre
Thornton to Peralta
85th % 46
47.7
47.8

37.9
102
Recc. Posted 40
45
45          
40
40








Paseo Padre
Stevenson to Driscoll
85th % 42
41.0
42.8

38.5
105
Recc. Posted 35
35
40
35
35








Paseo Padre
Driscoll to
Washington

85th % 37
41.0
45.3

39.6
106
Recc. Posted 30
35
45
35
35








Paseo Padre
Washington to Durham
85th % 44 avg
40.5 avg
42.6

38.3
107
Recc. Posted 30
35
40
35
35






 

Table 2.  By highwayrobbery.net  Updated 6-8-17  Source documents:  See Notes 1, 2, 5, 6, Parts 1 & 2 of the survey annotated in red, and the Re-survey List, at links above.  *Segment 99 was not listed in the Re-Survey List but was re-surveyed in Dec. 2015. 


Four More Unjustified Speed Limits

The City used means other than re-surveying to produce lower-than-recommended speed limits on the four following segments.

Lakeview (Fremont to Warren), Scott Creek (Warm Springs to I-680), and Stewart (Albrae to Boyce) were given speed limits 5 mph lower than those initially recommended, despite the concerns raised in the NOTES column of the Re-survey List (link above).   (The initial recommendations, and the contents of the NOTES column, are believed to be by Kimley-Horn, the traffic engineering firm the City hired to do the speed survey project .)

Boscell Road, between Stewart and Auto Mall:  Per the Re-survey List, the City deleted the two fastest cars from the survey sample - they called them "outliers" even though they were going only 50 mph - and by doing so was able to change the 85th% from 40.0 to 39.8, which they used to take the no-justification-required 5 mph reduction permitted by CVC 21400(b) after rounding up has occurred.
 

Suggested reading:

Article in TechDirt

A similar situation involving the red light cameras in Oakland pitted the ticket issuers (the OPD) against the traffic engineers.  See Set # 1 on the Oakland Docs page.

How Much Money Does Fremont Make, and what have they done to protect that income stream? - Set # 3, below.

The email linked in Set # 4, below, in which the Director of Public Works says that the City's policy is to round yellows up to to the nearest half-second - which they didn't do on Mowry.


The City Survey Documents Linked Above, Listed Chronologically by When Created

The 2001 ETS Book (link at Note 1)
The 2008 ETS Book (at Note 2)
The June 2015 Draft ETS Book (at Note 6)
The Aug. 2015 Spreadsheet (at Note 3)
The draft survey annotated in red, in two parts
The Sep. 2015 Re-survey List
The "Final" Survey, cover date Nov. 2015, revision of Feb. 2016 (at Note 5) 
 




Fremont Docs Set # 2
Ticket Count Tables

Updated 6-5-17

Table A:  2001 - 2005 monthly ticket totals, by intersection.
Table B:  2001 - 2016 annual ticket totals, by intersection and 2009 - 2016 monthly totals, by intersection.
Table C:  2010 - 2012 right turns on red, monthly, three intersections.
D:  Official source documents for ticket tables.


Table A:  2001 - 2005 Tickets Paid, and Detail for 2005

Total Violations Recorded (some months), Notices Printed, and Citations Paid at Court [4]

Cam #
AMFR
01
AUGR
01
BLMO
01
DEFR
01
DEPP
01
FRMO
01
FRPP
01
FRST
01
MOFA
01
STBL
01


















Fre-
mont
@
Auto
Mall
[6]
Auto
Mall
@
Grim-
mer
[6]
Mowry
@
Blacow


[6]
Fre-
mont
@
De-
coto
[6]
De-
coto
@
Paseo
Padre
[6]
Fre-
mont
@
Mowry

[6]
Fre-
mont
@
Paseo
Padre
[6]
Fre-
mont
@
Stev-
enson
[6]
Mowry
@
Far-
well

[6]
Stev-
enson
&
Blacow

[6]

Total
Recorded/
Notices
Printed

[1] [4]
Total
Cites
Paid


[4]
Aug00
[5]











Sep00
[5]











Oct00
0
0
0
0
0
19
0
0
0


19

Nov00
[5]











Dec00
[5]











2000













Jan01
[5]










63
[7]
Feb01
[5]










145
Mar01
[5]










168
Apr01
0
35
78
100
0
6
12
12
0


243
183
May01
[5]










212
Jun01
[5]










208
Jul01
[5]










196
Aug01
[5]










322
Sep01
[5]










238
Oct01
30
42
168
68
0
26
22
17
0


373
329
Nov01
[5]










276
Dec01
[5]










242
2001













Jan02
[5]










259
Feb02
[5]










212
Mar02
[5]










217
Apr02
18
40
127
67
0
23
25
26
0


326
211
May02
[5]










272
Jun02
[5]










221
Jul02
[5]










238
Aug02
[5]










377
Sep02
[5]










269
Oct02
41
43
182
105
0
29
31
44
0


475
303
Nov02
[5]










308
Dec02
[5]










303
2002













Jan03
[5]










436
Feb03
[5]










248
Mar03
[5]










299
Apr03
26
47
129
51
0
21
44
58
0


376
252
May03
[5]










307
Jun03
[5]










288
Jul03
[5]










360
Aug03
[5]










449
Sep03
[5]










551
Oct03
27
65
203
63
339
23
35
54
0


809
450
Nov03
[5]










432
Dec03
[5]










500
2003













Jan04
[5]










479
Feb04
[5]










407
Mar04
[5]










519
Apr04
21
79
201
36
218
24
37
14
182


812
549
May04
[5]










553
Jun04
[5]










607
Jul04
27
71
236
60
250
8
31
6
182


871
593
Aug04
[5]










669
Sep04
[5]










491
Oct04
10
34
130
41
165
7
37
10
171


611
576
Nov04
3
68
186
31
259
22
31
17
230
0

847
396
Dec04
21
60
162
32
274
20
36
30
279
-

914
562
2004













Cam #
AMFR
01
AUGR
01
BLMO
01
DEFR
01
DEPP
01
FRMO
01
FRPP
01
FRST
01
MOFA
01
STBL
01




Fre-
mont
@
Auto
Mall
[6]
Auto
Mall
@
Grim-
mer
[6]
Mowry
@
Blacow


[6]
Fre-
mont
@
De-
coto
[6]
De-
coto
@
Paseo
Padre
[6]
Fre-
mont
@
Mowry

[6]
Fre-
mont
@
Paseo
Padre
[6]
Fre-
mont
@
Stev-
enson
[6]
Mowry
@
Far-
well

[6]
Stev-
enson
&
Blacow

[6]

Total
Recorded/
Notices
Printed

[1] [4]
Total
Cites
Paid


[4]
Jan05
18
41
161
24
247
23
30
22
196
-

762
525
Feb05
56
55
157
31
243
7
34
22
150
-

755
490
Mar05
592
60
97
31
231
14
23
31
195
-

1274
577
Apr05
526
53
97
31
278
17
21
27
242
-

1292
657
May05
503
58
106
21
259
36
24
6
240
0

1253
719
Jun05
329
56
112
30
209
16
30
26
252
-

1060
863
Jul05
236
42
113
36
211
20
24
26
186
0

894
627
Aug05
293
46
71
23
199
27
16
33
135
48

891
792
Sep05
310
58
69
24
194
14
6
7
108
381

1171
615
Oct05
[8]
Rt: 19
St: 1
St: 20
St: 20 St: 20 St: 20 -
-
-
St: 20 Rt: 17
St: 3



Oct05
407
46
116
26
169
-
-
-
223
659

1646
432
Nov05
280
44
141
23
150
-
-
-
284
377

1299

Dec05













2005














Table A was made by highwayrobbery.net, using official monthly tabulations of citations actually issued.
[  ] indicates a footnote.
[1]  Totals are as provided by the City.
[2]  YTD = Year-to-date total.
[3]  Un-used columns are to allow for later expansion of City's system.
[4]  Any figures in red type (or, if you are looking at this table in black and white, the upper figure when there are two or more figures in a cell) are what RedFlex calls Total Violations, or all incidents recorded by the cameras, and due to time limitations may have been posted only for selected months or locations (or not at all).  If there is sufficient public interest, the remaining months will be posted.  The figures in black type are what RedFlex calls Notices Printed, and represent the sum of genuine citations issued (those filed with the court) plus Nominations mailed (not filed with the court, a.k.a. Snitch Tickets).   Figures in blue type (or, if you are looking at this table in black and white, solely in the rightmost column) are total Cites Paid (at the court), per RedFlex's monthly invoices to the City.
[5]  Camera-by-camera data for these months has not been requested.
[6]  The camera enforcement is on traffic on the first-named street, but the direction of enforcement (north, south, east, west, thru, left) is not yet available, except as noted for October 2005.
[7]  Cites paid from 9-24-00 to 1-31-01.
[8]  Highwayrobbery.net requested details about the first and last 10 tickets issued by each camera during that month. The  information posted in italic type shows how many of the 20 tickets were for right turns and how many were for straight-through movements.



Table B:  2001 - 2016 Annual Totals, by Intersection and 2009 - 2017 Monthly Totals, by Intersection.


Table B (Excel)
(Also see Set # 9, below.)

Full table available at highwayrobbery.net
Sample of Table B


Table C:  2010 - 2012 Right Turns on Red, Monthly, for Three Intersections

Table C (Excel)


D:  Official Source Documents for Tables A, B and C

2001 - 2009 Annual Reports
2001 - 2005 Reports
2009 Month-by-Month
2010 Month-by-Month
2011 Month-by-Month
2012 Month-by-Month, to Oct.
2012 Right Turns
Nov. 2012 to June 2013 Month-by-Month
July 2013 Report
Aug. 2013 Report
Sept. 2013 Report
Oct. & Nov. 2013 Reports
Dec. 2013 to June 2014 Month-by-Month
July 2014 to Jan. 2015 Month-by-Month
Mar. 2015 to May 2015 Month-by-Month
June 2015 to Mar. 2016 Month-by-Month
Feb. 2015 & Feb. 2016 to June 2016 Month-by-Month
July 2016 to Oct. 2016
Nov. & Dec. 2016 Reports
Jan. 2017 Report
Feb. & Mar. 2017 Reports
Apr. & May 2017 Reports




Fremont Docs Set # 3
How Much Money Does Fremont Make?

The City pays RedFlex $600,000 per year (see Set # 6, below).  To estimate Fremont's internal costs to run the program (mostly labor), we started with the $222,600 that the City of San Mateo charges the City of Millbrae to process approx. 1600 tickets a month, deducted about 1/3 because Fremont issues fewer tickets than that, and got $144,000.  For a total cost of $744,000.
Our Rule of Thumb is that the revenue flowing from the court to a city is about $100 for each red light camera ticket issued, so Fremont's gross revenue has been about $1.1 million annually, against expenses of $744,000, yielding a net profit of $356,000.


What have they done to keep the income up?


When straight-thru ticketing went down, they turned on right turn ticketing.  An example of that is on the last page (page 59 of the pdf) of the 2016 DKS study discussed in Set # 9, below.

They haven't explored
countermeasures.  See Set # 9, below.

They have manipulated the yellows.  See Set # 1, above. 





Fremont Docs Set # 4
Who Gets the Tickets?

A June 2013 email from the Public Works Director to a motorist revealed that only 31% of Fremont's tickets went to City residents.

Food for thought:  31% is actually rather high; in Menlo Park, only 10% of the tickets go to that City's residents.




Fremont Docs Set # 5
Grand Jury Says: "Don't Hide the Emails"
 

In 2015 the Alameda County Grand Jury told the City of Fremont that it must cease its practice of destroying emails after 30 days.

If you would like to read some grand jury reports from other counties, about their red light cameras and related issues, see the Grand Jury entry in the Site Index.




Fremont Docs Set # 6
The 2005 and 2010 Contracts - Paying More Than Double


With our apologies to Enron.
Not the City's Official Logo

The original contract was expiring, so at the Sept. 13, 2005 council meeting the City Council approved a new contract with RedFlex.  That contract included a unique compensation scheme so complicated that I had trouble telling if it complies with the CVC 21455.5 "pay-per-ticket" prohibition.  (See Defect # 10.)  Despite the complexity of the contract and its five-year term, there was absolutely no discussion of by the council before they voted to approve it.  Staff Report and Minutes  

2010:  Another New Contract

Here is the
staff report for the new seven-year contract which was approved at the June 1, 2010 council meeting.
The new contract reduced the monthly rent for each of the ten existing cameras to $4800.  Despite that lower price the City will overpay by $2,352,000 over the seven years (when compared with a $2000 target price - see FAQ # 17).

2013 Amendment to Annual Pricing Adjustment

Early 2013 Invoices showed that the rent had risen to $4995.  With that increase, the amount by which the City will overpay during the seven years 2010 - 2017 rose to (at least) $2,445,600.  To cover that extra rent, the City will need to issue an extra 24,456 tickets (assuming that the City receives $100 of revenue from each ticket issued).

As of early 2016 the City still was paying $4995 per camera.

The City can cancel the contract anytime, on 10 days notice.




 
Fremont Docs Set # 7
Why Do These Intersections Continue To Be So Dangerous?

Despite heavy ticketing for a long time, the cameras at three intersections continue to see unusually high numbers of straight-through violations.  On Dec. 30, 2005 I received documents which may explain why.

All three intersections (Mowry at Blacow, Mowry at Farwell, Decoto at Paseo Padre) have 40 mph posted speed limits and, per the signal control charts received from the City, yellows set at 4.0 seconds, 0.1 above the minimum required in a 40 zone.  
[That was under the old rules, prior to Aug. 1, 2015.  Under the new rules the yellow is to be based upon the 85th, rounded up.  See Defect # 2, on the Home page.]  However, both Mowry and Decoto are high speed streets, and one explanation for high ticket numbers can be a too-low posted speed limit and the too-short yellows that it allows.

Posted speeds are supposed to be determined, and justified, in an engineering survey done every five to seven years.  Here are the surveys for Mowry and Decoto.








 In these surveys, the "85th Percentile Speed" for the section of Mowry that has cameras is 47, and the 85th for Decoto is 46. 
By law, the traffic engineer (who writes the survey) is supposed to choose a speed limit that is just below the 85th percentile speed.
(The "85th Percentile Speed" is the speed at or below which 85 percent of the motorists travel, according to survey results.
However, he can reduce the posted speed by an additional 5 mph increment if he cites, in the survey, a danger that would not be apparent to a driver on the street. That danger could be a hidden driveway, or a higher-than-average accident rate.  Using Mowry's 85th as an example, he could post a 45 without giving any justification for doing so.  But he could only move the limit down to 40 if he said that there
is some non-obvious danger or that there was a higher-than-expected number of accidents - as he has done with Mowry (highlighted).  (CVC 22358.5)  (You can see an "informal discussion" of the law, in the Speeding Ticket section of the Links page.)

Examining the Surveys

Decoto

The Decoto survey does not seem to justify the 40 limit posted there - "high pedestrian activity" is something that would be apparent to a driver, and thus is not a legally proper reason to down-rate the speed on a street.  If the speed limit was increased to 45, the yellow at the intersection with Paseo Padre would need to be set at a minimum of 4.3 seconds.  [That was under the old rules, prior to Aug. 1, 2015.  Under the new rules the yellow is to be based upon the 85th, rounded up.  See Defect # 2, on the Home page.]  This 0.3 increase would cut the number of violations, dramatically - probably in half - and make it a much safer intersection.  (For those who would argue that violations would return to former levels after local drivers got used to the longer yellow, see FAQ # 6.)

Mowry

The Mowry survey cites the "high number of rear-end accidents" as justification for the down-rating to 40 mph.  That is a factor that would not be apparent to a driver, so , technically, can be used to justify lowering the limit the extra 5 mph increment - and the short yellow that results. 
[That was under the old rules, prior to Aug. 1, 2015.  Under the new rules the yellow is to be based upon the 85th, rounded up.  See Defect # 2, on the Home page.]  But the survey was based upon data from 1999 and 2000, just before the cameras were installed on Mowry.  In light of the current understanding that red light cameras increase rear-enders, it seems unsafe to maintain short yellows that will cause drivers (those who have had a ticket, or know about the short yellows) to brake abruptly and increase the already-high number of rear-enders.
Additionally, the Mowry survey lists a 50th Percentile Speed of 42 mph.  This tells us that the majority of motorists are exceeding the posted speed limit.  This is significant because of People v. Goulet, in which the court ruled:
"...[T]he general rule [is that speed limits are to be] set at the 85th percentile speed or within 5 mph under that speed.  Some speed limits may be justified because they are set five mph below the general rule, based on higher than expected accident rates or listed hidden hazards.  Some speed limits may appeal to be unjustified because:
... 2.  The speed limit makes violators of a large percentage of drivers."

*The "85th Percentile Speed" is the speed at or below which 85 percent of the motorists travel, according to survey results. 




Fremont Docs Set # 8
"Late Time" Graphs 

These graphs track violations recorded, not tickets issued.
Where there is a large number of long Late Time violations in a curb lane, it is believed to indicate heavy ticketing on right turns.
(The curb lane will be the lane with the highest lane number.) 


Grand Terrace late times bar chart
The picture above is an example from another city.

Mission/Mohave 2010
Mission/Mohave 2011
Mission/Mohave 2012

All cameras, July 2012

All cameras, June 2013

Four cameras, late 2013 (AMFR, MIMO, MOFR, STBL)

All cameras, Aug. 2015

All cameras, Aug. 2016

Bar graphs are available for more than fifty other cities - see the
list in the expanded version of Defect # 9.





Fremont Docs Set # 9
Mission / Mohave and Mission / Warm Springs

Longer Yellows = Much Lower Ticketing, for a While
The Cameras are Not Cutting Angle Crashes
City has No Interest in Non-Camera Countermeasures


Mission Blvd. is a State highway, so CalTrans sets the signal timing.

Mission/Mohave

Mission/Mohave in Fremont, effect of longer
                    yellow
Portion of Bar Graph - for Full Bar Graph, Click on Link, Below

Full Bar Graph

This graph shows a big drop in running, and citations, after CalTrans lengthened the yellow at Mission/Mohave sometime in Nov. 2010.

The graph suggests that more than half of the Mission/Mohave tickets were unjustified, because the motorist was entrapped by the too-short yellow.
  Using monthly ticket counts and overall totals from Table B (above), we can see that at least 7874 tickets were issued at Mission/Mohave prior to the lengthening of the yellow.  Will the City ever do a refund of the (approx.) 3937 tickets that would not have been issued had the yellow been long enough?

The data for the six years of operation after the 2010 lengthening shows that for nearly five years there was no "rebound" - ticketing at Mission/Mohave stayed down until late Summer 2015, when it was raised by about 50%, probably as part of an citywide attempt to compensate for the drop in ticketing at the locations where the yellows had to be lengthened on Aug. 1.
  (For more info about rebound, see FAQ # 6.)

A 2016 engineering study revealed that when CalTrans lengthened the Mission/Mohave yellow and straight-thru ticketing went down, the City turned on right turn ticketing.   See the last page (page 59 of the pdf) of the 2016 DKS study discussed in Set # 10, below.


Mission/Warm Springs

On Nov. 29, 2012 CalTrans lengthened the yellow at Mission/Warm Springs from 4.3 seconds up to 5.0, and ticketing stayed down until a jump in Fall 2013 and another in Fall 2016.

SaferStreetsLA Report on Effect of Longer Yellows in Fremont


  The Trend - Ticketing and Angle Crashes Both Up!

Citywide ticketing in Fremont - which should have dropped after years of enforcement - remains about the same. 

At the two cameras on Mission, ticketing dropped 63% between 2010 and 2013
, but then rose 29% between 2013 and 2014.  
 
And in 2016, ticketing at Mission/Mohave was 83% greater than it was in 2014; Mission/Warm Springs was 96% greater.

An independent engineering study commissioned by the City in 2016 reported that angle crashes were up 43% at Mission/Mohave and up 55% at Mission/Warm Springs.  (See page 10 of the pdf linked in Set # 10, below.)

That same engineering study revealed that City staff expressed no interest in
countermeasures (at page 13 of the pdf):

"According to City of Fremont Staff, other safety features to improve safety and discourage red light violations were not considered prior to the installations of the ARLE systems at either study intersection.  To date, the City is satisfied with the operational benefits of the current ARLE system and have not explored other possible countermeasures."
 



 
Fremont Docs Set # 10
Encroachment Permits

Some of the City's cameras (those on Mission Blvd.) are located on CalTrans right-of-ways, so are operated under an encroachment permit obtained from CalTrans.  HighwayRobbery.net obtained these documents from CalTrans, via a public records request.

Permit Application 2006, Issued 2007

April 2016 DKS Study, Part of Application for Permit Renewal

Permit Issued June 2016, Expiring June 2017

Some other cities operate cameras under encroachment permits.  For more information about those cities and about CalTrans' criteria for the issuance of an encroachment permit, see the CalTrans section on the Links page.




Fremont Docs Set # 11
The Judges


I recommend doing a PC on Comm. Geoffrey Carter.

In late 2016, the Judicial Council removed Comm. Taylor Culver from the Alameda County Superior Court bench.




Fremont Docs Set # 12

The Politicians

Do you live in the South end of Alameda County or the North end of Santa Clara County - State Sen. Ellen Corbett's former District?

In 2014 Sen. Corbett "termed out," and was replaced by this person


Wieckowski, author anti-motorist bill AB
                      666 

Wieckowski, Author of the anti-motorist bills SB 1 and AB 666


who will be running for re-election in 2018 and 2022.

Please don't vote for him.

Send him back home to his bankruptcy law practice.

As of 2017 he is in the State Legislature in Sacramento and is a co-author of SB 1 (if it passes it will raise gas tax and car registration fees).  In 2013 he was the author of AB 666 which - had it passed - would have increased the number of red light camera tickets.  Before reaching the Legislature he was a member of the Fremont City Council, and during his time on the council he approved two extensions of Fremont's contract with RedFlex:  He was the maker of the 2005 motion to extend the contract to 2010, and in 2010 he made the motion to extend the contract to June 2017.




Fremont Docs Set # 13

More Coming

There may be some more Fremont information posted in the next few days.  Mark your calendar to remind you to come back here and look!



 
---------------------------------

RED LIGHT CAMERAS
www.highwayrobbery.net
www.highwayrobbery.net