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Decisions on highway cameras up to the state

Is there a traffic camera on Garfield and Highway 99 in Medford? If not, there should be. I've seen several cars speed right through a totally red light. It's a very deadly intersection.

— Judy B., Talent

Judy, there's no camera at that particular intersection and probably won't be in the near future. Here's why.

Oregon Revised Statute 810.434 says that "any CITY may, at its own cost, operate cameras designed to photograph drivers ... ," but Highway 99 is under the jurisdiction of the state, not the city.

Gary Leaming, spokesman for Oregon Department of Transportation, said state highways don't generally have red-light enforcement, and even if they did, that intersection likely would not be eligible.

According to ODOT's guidelines, a Red Light Running, or RLR, camera would not be appropriate for a site with an "electrical interconnect with railroad active warning devices" — and there is a railroad crossing near the intersection.

"A lot of reports would need to be done before the department would ever consider that, and, frankly, I can't say we'd ever consider that unless nothing else worked," said Leaming.

"Certainly, if there was a problem intersection with a lot of red-light runners, we would put a cop there and get some enforcement."

Leaming pulled some numbers for us and learned that the crash rate for the intersection of Garfield Street and Highway 99 is 3.07 crashes per million miles traveled. Leaming says that's high but not unusual.

Medford has only two RLR cameras, one at the intersection of Biddle Road and McAndrews Road, and another at the intersection of Stewart Avenue and Barnett Road.

Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said in 2011 there were 1,457 tickets issued as a result of running a red light at these two intersections.

As for the Garfield-99 interchange, Judy, we suggest you proceed with care and look both ways before venturing forth.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.