RED LIGHT CAMERAS
you haven't already done so, please read the Menlo
Park section on the Camera Towns page
Menlo Park Documents
Some of Menlo Park's
tickets can be ignored. If your "ticket" does
not have the Superior Court's name and address on
it, it is what I call a "Fake Ticket." For
more details, see the Fake Ticket section on the
Your Ticket page.
If you have a ticket from Menlo Park
- even one you already have paid - be sure to read the
"San Mateo County Information," which is Docs Set # 4
on the San Mateo
Documents page - and contact me!
At a meeting on April 9, 2019 the
council decided to allow the red light camera program
to end. See Set # 4, below.
State Senator Jerry
early 2018 Sen. Hill introduced SB
which, had it passed, would have reduced the
fine for a rolling right violation.
East Bay Voters:
who will be running for re-election to the State Senate in 2022 if his run for Congress doesn't work out.
In Nov. 2020 please don't vote for him
Send him back home to his bankruptcy
He was co-author of SB 1 which raised
gas tax and car registration fees beginning Nov. 2017 and
which was the subject of an attempted repeal, by Prop.
6 on the Nov. 2018 ballot.
Menlo Park Docs Set # 1
Recorded, Notices Printed, Citations
Issued, Rolling Right Citations Issued
This table made by highwayrobbery.net, using official monthly Customer Management Reports (CMR). Those source documents are available at:
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Apr. 2008 - Mar. 2009
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Apr. 2009 & Aug. 2010
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Sep. & Oct. 2010
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Nov. & Dec. 2010
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. 2011
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. 2012
Also see ticket counts in Set # 2, below.
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. 2008 - Oct. 2012 Grand Totals
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Nov. 2012 - Jan. 2013
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Feb. 2011 - Mar. 2013
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Oct. 2012 - Apr. 2013
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. May 2013 - Nov. 2013
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Nov. 2013 - Mar. 2014
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Apr. 2014 - July 2014
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Aug. 2014 - Apr. 2015
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. May 2015 - June 2015
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. July 2015 - Dec. 2015 & 2015 Totals
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Jan. 2016 - Mar. 2016
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Apr. 2016 - May 2016
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. May 2016 - Nov. 2016
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Dec. 2016 - Jan. 2017
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Feb. 2017 - June 2017
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Jul. 2017 - Mar. 2018
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Apr 2018 - Aug. 2018
Cust. Mgmt. Reps. Sep. 2018 to Dec. 2018
[ ] indicates a footnote.
 Except where noted otherwise, totals and percentages are as provided by the City.
 This annual total, or annual projection, is by highwayrobbery.net.
 Un-used columns are to allow for later expansion of City's system.
 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 the CMR calls Total Violations (total incidents photographed by the camera), and due to time limitations may have been posted here only for selected months or locations. If there is sufficient public interest, the remaining months will be posted. The figures in black type, Total Notices Printed, are believed to represent the sum of genuine citations issued (those filed with the court) plus the Nominations mailed (not filed with the court, a.k.a. Snitch/phishing/fake Tickets).
 See Set # 3, below.
 The camera enforcement is believed to be on traffic on the first-named street, but the direction of enforcement (north, south, east, west, thru, left) is not yet available.
 If you have a left turn ticket at Bayfront/Willow, see the expanded version of Defect # 9 - C, and Docs Set # 3, below.
 Per City staff, a defective sensor at Bayfront/Willow was replaced on 11-22-10. It may have been responsible for the low number of violations recorded during September and October.
 Citywide total for this month is by highwayrobbery.net.
 Data for this month was requested on:
 According to the MPPD, the cameras on were inoperable because the re-paving on El Camino destroyed the in-ground sensors, and damage by a hit and run at Bayfront/Willow.
 This report was generated just a few days after the end of the month, so the number of tickets issued may be low.
 In late 2016 the City installed a camera at Bayfront/Chilco. See Sets # 4 & 9, below.
 The annual figures in black type are full year totals, or projections, of all Notices Printed (including those for rolling right turns), and are by highwayrobbery.net. The figures in blue type are full years totals, or projections, of rolling right turn tickets issued. For years 2009 - 2012 they are from a table prepared by RedFlex, and for 2013 onward they are from the annual reports required by CVC 21455.5(i) - which are published around late Summer of the following year. The annual report for 2016 revealed that 66% of the 3727 tickets actually filed were for rolling right turns.
 Highwayrobbbery.net requested invoices and/or revenue figures only for selected months. Although the camera program has closed, highwayrobbery.net will continue to ask the court for revenue figures and will post them in the table above. To see the official documents, see Ticketing Highlights and Set # 7, both below.
 Highwayrobbery.net's estimates based upon first 22 days of May.
 Highwayrobbery.net's estimate based upon first 27 days of February.
 From the annual reports required by CVC 21455.5(i).
Ticketing Highlights - Is There a Quota in Menlo Park?
March 2018 internal correspondence (from a MPPD commander to the traffic sergeant) showed the City was watching the ticketing, and the money it generates, closely.
This email was obtained from the City on 4-27-18 via a public records request.
Commander Dixon's email produced results. Ticketing jumped in May 2018, to the highest since Jan. 2009, and in June, July and August 2018 it was higher yet.
By any measure, the increase seen in May - August is significant.
1. It is 66% higher than the ticketing seen in January - April 2018.
2. It is 55% higher than the average ticketing seen in May - August of 2016 and May - August of 2017.
3. If ticketing continues through December 2018 at the rate
seen in May - August, there will be 8107 tickets in 2018, 37% higher than in 2017.
4. If the increased ticketing continues in 2019, there will be 9351 tickets by the end of that year, 58% higher than in 2017.
In 2013 emails the MPPD traffic sergeant asked RedFlex if the high percentage of right turn violations predicted at a proposed new camera location would be "sustainable." (The answer was yes.) Details are in Set # 9, below.
In late 2015 the City tripled the number of tickets from camera ECRA-3, which monitors El Camino northbound at Ravenswood. In one of those months 58% or more of the violations flashed by that camera were for rolling right turns (see the Aug. 2015 Late Times graphs in Set # 2, below). The extra right turn ticketing by ECRA-3 more than compensated for the reduction in straight thru ticketing caused by the longer yellows that were required beginning Aug. 1, 2015 - see Defect # 2.
The extra ticketing by ECRA-3 could be quota behavior by both RedFlex and the police; RedFlex is able to lower the threshold speed (also called "trigger speed") to cause the camera to flash more of the drivers going around the turn slowly, and the police have the discretion to issue tickets to slower drivers - or to refuse to do so.
Around the same time, RedFlex granted $17,985 of "Performance Concessions" to the City. Those discounts appear on some of the late 2015 invoices from the company to the City - and are posted in the table, above. The invoices do not indicate why RedFlex granted the discounts.
More invoices: Early 2017 Early 2018
The annual report (see footnote  above) for 2016 revealed that 66% of the 3727 tickets actually filed were for rolling right turns, and that 2016 right turn ticketing was more than eight times the rate in 2014.
Menlo Park Docs Set # 2
"Late Time" Graphs
The City has provided bar graphs of Late Times, etcetera, for all four of its cameras.
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.)
The picture above is an example from another city.
Ticket Counts May 2009 to Feb. 2010 & Bar Graphs - 6-Month Intervals
July 2009 Bar Graphs ECVA-01
July 2010 Bar Graphs & Ticket Counts Mar. 2010 to July 2010
July 2011 Bar Graphs (received in April 2013)
July 2012 Bar Graphs
July & Oct. 2013 Bar Graphs
July 2014 Bar Graphs
Aug. 2015 Bar Graphs
Mar. 2016 Bar Graphs
In Dec. 2016 and July 2017 the City claimed it no longer had access to the late time graphs.
Feb. 2018 Tabular Version
Bar graphs are available for more than fifty other cities - see the list in the expanded version of Defect # 9.
Menlo Park Docs Set # 3
July 2010: Bayfront/Willow Yellow Lengthened
On July 2, 2010 at 10 a.m. CalTrans lengthened the yellow for the westbound Bayfront/Willow left turn to 3.5 seconds, up from 3.0.
As a result, violations dropped by about 80% - see the Ticket Counts table, above.
Flipping these numbers over, we can see that the missing half second increased ticketing fivefold.
At Bayfront/Willow, approx. 3000 drivers were ticketed unfairly. Approx. $1.3 million in fines.
If you have a pre-change ticket with a Late Time of 0.60 second or less, call the City and ask them to dismiss it. And if they refuse, take it to court.
See also a letter highwayrobbery.net wrote to the local assemblyman (who was elected to the State Senate in Nov. 2012).
It is also interesting to note that between February and March 2010, something caused the number of raw violations at Bayfront/Willow (in the table above, the figures in red) to double. And, it happened again between May and June of 2012 and again in early 2016.
Menlo Park Docs Set # 4
The city council approved a five
year contract with RedFlex on Dec. 5,
In May 2013 the City and RedFlex
signed an agreement
to continue the program for two months, to
allow time for contract negotiations. At
the June 11 council meeting the council approved a
further two-month extension, terminating Sept.
The proposed long-term renewal was
brought before the council at its meeting of Aug. 20,
2013. Included in the staff recommendation was
the deletion of the previous Cost Neutral payment
arrangements (see Exh. D in the contracts) and the
addition of cameras at Bayfront/Chilco - See Set # 9,
At the Aug. 20 meeting the city
council heard after-midnight public testimony (from
highwayrobbery.net and others) questioning, among many
things, the price (the staff report recommended
accepting a monthly rent, per camera, of $5397.50),
and an unusual requirement for a supermajority 4/5
vote in order to cancel on short notice. They
also received a new report
(prepared by SaferStreetsLA.org) which examined the
Menlo Park program in great detail and concluded that
the program was ineffective and had not been justified
in the first place.
The city council continued the matter to the meeting of Aug. 27, at which time they approved the new contract (4 - 1, Carlton dissenting) including the addition of cameras at Bayfront/Chilco (see Set # 9 below, for more info about Bayfront/Chilco) and a rent of $4950 for the four existing cameras, 9% lower than the price presented the previous week. The City has not publicly acknowledged that it was public input that brought about the 9% reduction, saving $107,400 over the five years. With that saving the City could issue 1074 fewer tickets and still break even - assuming that the City gets an average of $100 from each ticket issued.
Even with the 9%
reduction, the City still agreed to pay WAY too
much. In March 2014 the City of Elk Grove,
California approved a new contract which specified the
following schedule of rents for their five RedFlex
Menlo Park agreed to pay 72% too much (compared
to the Elk Grove price schedule) over the five years of
the extension, $497,184 extra. The City would need
to issue an extra 4972 tickets to cover that extra rent.
But there was a way out. At the Aug. 27, 2013 meeting the council did not delete the requirement for a 4/5 vote to cancel, but modified it so that after Feb. 15, 2015 only the normal 3/5 vote would be required (see Section 6.1 of the contract). Thus, a simple majority of the council could have voted to cancel the program, which would have allowed the City to negotiate a better price.
The City continued to pay $4950 per camera per month, per RedFlex invoices received here in April 2018 (link in Ticketing Highlights, above).
April 9, 2019: Renewal Recommended
The contract expired on Aug. 30, 2018, but on Aug. 15 the City asked RedFlex to extend it two months. In that letter the city manager said that the contract would come before the council on Sept. 11 - but it didn't. The matter was heard at the Oct. 23 meeting, and the council voted 5 - 0 to extend the contract for six months during which time the contract was to be put out to bid and there was to be an evaluation of the effectiveness of the program.
About the bidding:
Staff waited until March 2019 to publish an RFP (as the
council requested them to do so, in October) and then - trying to make
up time? - gave bidders only two weeks to respond. The
result, of course, was that the only bid came from the
In 2017 there was a similar very short bid deadline, in Montebello.
PA Daily Post Article
A staff report recommending a five-year extension was heard at the Apr. 9, 2019 council meeting.
We submitted some reasons why the council should have a close look at the program before continuing it.
Go to FAQ # 17 for more information about other cities' contracts, and to see how much they pay - and how they negotiated.
At the Apr. 9, 2019 meeting the council took no action on the staff recommendation to continue the program, thus allowing the
program to end at the end of April.
This list of contracts and amendments was up-to-date as of May 28, 2019.
Menlo Park Docs Set # 5
At the Oct. 12, 2011 meeting of the City's Transportation Commission, the police made a presentation about the red light cameras. The video of that meeting is available on the City's website.
Menlo Park Docs Set # 6
The City's cameras 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.
Issued Permit, 2007
In Nov. 2015 the City applied for a renewal of its Encroachment Permit. Mentioned in that application was that the City intended to continue its effort to obtain a new permit, to put a camera at Bayfront/Chilco. CalTrans eventually approved the Bayfront/Chilco permit and the camera was installed in late 2016.
See Set # 9, below.
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.
Menlo Park Docs Set # 7
Menlo Park Docs Set # 8
There is program info at the police
Menlo Park Docs Set # 9
Late 2016: New Camera at Bayfront/Chilco
In May 2013 highwayrobbery.net obtained Emails between the City and RedFlex (obtained legally, via a Public Records Act request) revealing that they were thinking about putting one or two cameras at the corner of Bayfront and Chilco, and that rolling right turns could be 97% or more of the violations. From those emails:
Sgt. Sharon Kaufman: "My only question is since most of the violations are right turns, how long would that be sustainable?"
The RedFlex sales rep - who formerly was a lieutenant with the Fremont police and ran the camera program there - was quick to reply:
Mark Riggs: "I can say that most intersections that have right turns enforced continue to produce consistent numbers."
In pages 9 - 12 of the report it presented to the city council for its Aug. 20, 2013 meeting, SaferStreetsLA found no justification for the installation of cameras at Bayfront/Chilco. The staff report is available at the link in Set # 4, above.
Bayfront/Chilco is on a state highway, so before the City could install a camera there, it needed to obtain an Encroachment Permit from CalTrans. The City began an application for the permit in Nov. 2013 but waited until Aug. 2014 to respond to a CalTrans request for more information. Following that response, CalTrans could have issued the permit right away, with no waiting period or opportunity for the public to comment upon the validity of the claims made in the City's response; instead, in Feb. 2015, CalTrans denied the application - but with leave for the City to re-apply. (In Nov. 2015 the City applied for a renewal of the Encroachment Permit for its original cameras, and in that application the City wrote that they intend to continue their effort to obtain a new permit to allow the installation of cameras at Bayfront/Chilco. See Set # 6, above.)
(There is no requirement that signs be posted at an intersection to let local drivers know about a pending Encroachment Permit. If you think that CalTrans should post signs and provide a comment period prior to the issuance of an Encroachment Permit for a red light camera, phone your state senator and your assemblyperson. While you are talking to your state reps, you may want to take the opportunity to comment about Menlo Park's existing cameras on El Camino Real and on Bayfront at Willow, all of which are operated under CalTrans Encroachment Permits and one of which (ECRA-03) issues a lot of rolling right tickets.)
On Dec. 7, 2016 the city announced that it had installed a camera at Bayfront/Chilco and that enforcement would begin on Dec. 9 - with 30 days of warning tickets.
Menlo Park Docs Set # 10
Who Gets the Tickets?
A slide presented during the Aug. 20, 2013 city council meeting disclosed that 90% of the tickets go to visitors.
Menlo Park Docs Set # 11
Menlo Park Docs Set # 12
Including a Grand Jury Report
about the Cameras
Look in Countywide Info on the San
Mateo Docs page for info about the judges, the court,
and the Grand Jury.
Menlo Park Docs Set # 13
Contacting State, City and other
Bay Area Officials
State Senator Jerry
2010 Sen. Hill was the author of AB
which would have reduced the fine for a
rolling right violation, and in 2016 tried
again via a new bill, SB 986,
which also did not pass. In
early 2017 Sen. Hill introduced
which, if it passes, will reduce
the fine for a rolling right
Please also consider contacting the Menlo Park city council and chamber of commerce, and also the state senator and assemblyperson for the district in which you live.
Menlo Park Docs Set # 14
There may be some more Menlo Park information posted in the next few weeks. Mark your calendar to remind you to come back here and look!
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