Just last week, a grassroots organization started a petition to ban traffic cameras in Orleans Parish. According to the official NOLA Initiative website, it plans to gather signatures of 10,000 registered voters in the Orleans parish to amend the charter.
While NOLA Initiative founder Mike Bowler remained optimistic, the City of New Orleans finds the success of the petition unlikely.
“The City Attorney believes this is legally problematic,” says City of New Orleans Press Secretary Erin Burns in a prepared statement. "Sections 9-201 and 9-202 of the City Charter deals with getting a charter amendment on the ballot via petition. Getting 10,000 signatures does not automatically place it on the ballot, the Council would need to pass an ordinance putting the proposed Charter amendment on the ballot.”
Burns says that there is still a need for cameras in the city. She cites a longitudinal study that shows 80 percent of traffic camera offenders did not receive another citation after their first offense and 93 percent after their second offense.
“The purpose of the Traffic Camera Program is to keep people safe by deterring red light violations, reducing speeding violations, increasing traffic situational awareness and reducing collision severity,” Burns says.