Red Light Cameras Start Clicking Next Sunday

Falls Church Times Staff

December 13, 2010

Falls Church Police Sergeant Pilar Uelmen advised the City Council this evening that two photo-red cameras will begin operating next Sunday, December 19.  One camera will be at the corner of E. Broad St. and Cherry St. and the other at W. Broad St. and Annandale Road.  Red light violators will receive warning notices for a 30 day trial period.  Thereafter, citations will be issued. 

Mayor Nader Baroukh queried Sergeant Uelmen regarding citizens’ concerns about the devices flashing at night.  She responded that the system’s vendor is working with the City’s engineering division to incorporate shielding mechanisms on the cameras. 

Resolutions and Ordinances  –  In its final meeting of 2010 the Council unanimously approved a resolution establishing a task force to implement a Community Energy Plan.  The initiative will identify emission reduction targets, develop and implement the plan, and monitor progress.  The resolution provides for $18,000 for consulting services to provide technical expertise in support of the plan.  The group will meet four to six times a year and will conclude its work and report to Council by June 30, 2012.

Ralph Yatsko of the Climate Change/Energy Efficiency Task Group projected that a 2% reduction in energy could be achieved per year and estimated total savings of $21.5 million by government, residential, and business sectors over ten years.  Vice Mayor Dave Snyder saw this as “a very significant payback of the $18,000.”

Councilman Ira Kaylin noted that the savings would not directly revert to the general fund, but would be diffuse.  In response, Mr. Yatsko stated that the savings for the City government were projected at $2 million over the course of a decade. 

The Council unanimously approved the second reading of a budget amendment.  The ordinance allocates $59,080 to the general fund, $50,000 to the capital improvements project fund, and $38,000 to the water fund.  Four consent items also were approved involving transportation engineering services, sidewalk repairs, and water main design services.

City Manager’s Report  –  City Manager Wyatt Shields introduced Richard La Condre, the City’s new Chief Financial Officer.  Mr. La Condre, who assumed his duties on December 6, comes to Falls Church from Tallahassee, Florida.  Mr. Shields thanked Melissa Ryman for her work as acting CFO over the past six months.

Mr. Shields advised that new trash and recycle containers were distributed during the first week of December.   On Monday, December 20 and Tuesday, December 21, the City will collect old containers.  Residents should put discarded containers face down by the curb.  Old trash cans also can be used to hold brush for pickup.  More information about the new containers is available at the City’s website.

Mr. Kaylin inquired concerning the “twist ties” that originally were to be distributed as part of the new collection program.  Mr. Shields advised that the ties will not be issued until the Council approves a resolution authorizing a trash pickup fee.

Santamobile  –  Some concern was expressed during the comment segment of the meeting that Santa hadn’t been seen making his rounds through City.  Councilman Ron Peppe pointed out  that Santa’s schedule is available at the Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department website.  Santa will begin his ride through town on Wednesday, December 15.

Appointments  –  The Council approved numerous appointments and reappointments to City boards and commissions.

Charles Langalis and James Michel were reappointed to the Citizens Advisory Committee on Transportation.  Their four year terms will run until January 31, 2014.

Donald Brobst, Jr. and Stephen Sprague were reappointed to the Housing Commission.  Their three year terms will run until December 31, 2013.

Linda Valentino was reappointed to the Historic Architectural Review Board to a term ending January 31, 2014.

Chairman John Lawrence and Vice Chair Melissa Teates were reappointed to the Planning Commission through 2014.   

Dennis Szymanski was appointed to the Tree Commission to a term ending March 31, 2013.

Raymond Arnaudo was appointed to the Environmental Services Council to a term ending February 28, 2012.

Larry Little was appointed to the Retirement Board through April 2013.

The Council also recommended that the city attorney request  the Arlington County Circuit Court to appoint Matthew Kahn and Claudia Volk to the City”s Board Of Equalization.  If so appointed, their terms will run from February 1, 2011 to January 31, 2014.   

Council Closed Session  –  At 9:00 pm the Council went into a closed session to discuss matters relating to the City’s water system.  This was the second time in December that the Council has convened in secret on this topic.

December 13, 2010 


13 Responses to “Red Light Cameras Start Clicking Next Sunday”

  1. Jan B Hertzsch on December 14th, 2010 6:59 am

    In addition to the red light cameras, I would like to see movable speed cameras. Speed bumps are ineffective and no one wants cameras permanently in their residential neighborhood.

  2. Susan Sugrue on December 14th, 2010 8:58 am

    The article says:

    “Mr. Shields advised that the ties will not be issued until the Council approves a resolution authorizing a trash pickup fee.”

    What trash pickup fee?

  3. Stephen Donaldson Trilby on December 14th, 2010 11:35 am

    Red Light Cameras are a scam. That is FACT! Speed cameras are more about money than safety. Or do you feel that having people speedometer watch is “safer” than looking out their windshield? Fight the scam! Ban the cams!

  4. Terence Kuch, Falls Church on December 14th, 2010 11:41 am

    Only two red light cameras? The one at W.Broad and Birch was a real help for pedestrians. It’s still there, but inoperative — could it be activated at minimum cost (certainly less than the income it would produce)?

  5. TFC on December 14th, 2010 11:46 am

    Susan, I believe the reference is to the fee of $1.00 per bag that will be charged for trash (not recycle) that exceeds the cart capacity. So, if you have more trash that the cart holds on a pick up day, you will use a special twist tie (a buck a piece) for each plastic bag that’s beyond the cart capacity. I do know it’s ok for neighbors to agree to use under filled carts and fill them. I have a neighbor that will only ever have one small bag of trash in her cart, I asked if I could add an occasional bag when I have more than my cart..she said fine.

  6. Meg Wiant (Falls Church City) on December 14th, 2010 2:53 pm

    I thought these cameras were already up and running. I could have sworn that I saw a flash when somebody ran a red light at Broad and Annandale last week.

  7. vlfrance, City of Falls Church on December 14th, 2010 2:54 pm

    Importantly, I’m happy to know that I haven’t missed the annaul Santamobile after all! One can never be too old to enjoy Santa on a flashy, musical fire engine. 🙂

  8. Susan Sugrue on December 14th, 2010 9:50 pm

    TFC: Thank you for explaining the fee, I appreciate it. I like the idea of sharing trash cans, great idea!

  9. TFC on December 15th, 2010 9:04 am

    No problem. As I recall from the meeting about the trash service…the twist ties would also be sent to those who obtained an ADA waiver b/c the carts were too unwieldy. The plan was that those folks would have twist ties provided for free at the rate of two trash bags a week…like maybe they would have a 6 mos or one year supply sent to them. The fee/twist tie plan must be approved by City Council before implementation.

  10. Andrew on December 15th, 2010 2:52 pm

    Do the red light cameras also ticket you for making a right turn on red? I was sitting at the light at Broad St and Annandale Rd when I saw the flash go off on two cars when they made a right turn. They both came to a complete stop before turning and there aren’t any no turn on red signs that I could see

  11. Gordon Theisz, City of Falls Church on December 15th, 2010 4:10 pm

    I noticed the right turn issue too, Andrew. I saw it at the Cherry St. intersection. The flash is also quite bright and startling coming from the opposite direction. I don’t recall that being a problem with the previous system that we used.

  12. Mike on January 30th, 2011 10:20 pm

    No penalty for ignoring red light camera tickets in Virginia

    No reason to pay red light camera tickets in Virginia – unless you are served personally (i.e., deputy hands you the summons), there is no penalty for ignoring red light camera tickets mailed to you or tacked to your door.

    Let’s get the word out – if localities know they will not make money on ticket scammeras, they will not engage in these accident producing schemes.

    See 2005 VDOT red light camera report at

    As the 2005 RLC VDOT report states in Appendix H: Virginia’s red light camera law “ultimately requires a personal notification, which may prove prohibitively expensive for some jurisdictions.”

    In more detail, the 2005 RLC VDOT report on page 110 explains this as follows:

    “The new statute referenced in section A., § 8.01-296, is the provision for service of process in civil actions, which has been borrowed by the Virginia General Assembly for the present purpose. It outlines several options for achieving satisfactory service, beginning with an attempt at personal in-hand service, and moving on to a series of de-escalating forms of substituted service: delivering to an adult at the defendant’s usual place of abode; posting on the front door of such abode in conjunction with mailing; and finally, by order of publication in appropriate cases under the provisions of the applicable code sections. It is the second of these
    that gives Virginia its nickname as a “nail and mail” state, meaning that for most civil actions, posting notice on the defendant’s front door in conjunction with mailing will constitute sufficient notice. However, this is not so for red light camera citations under the code, for the second statute referenced above is § 19.2-76 which, as we have already seen, requires personal in-hand
    service if the “nail and mail” approach does not succeed in bringing the defendant into court. Thus, under Virginia’s red light camera statute as it is now worded, the mere mailing of a citation without personal service by a law enforcement officer does not constitute sufficient notice under the statute’s own terms. While the statute permits the jurisdiction to make the initial attempt to summon the accused to court via mail, if that person fails to respond, he or she is not considered to have been satisfactorily served with notice. Default judgments entered under such circumstances (when the defendant fails to appear in court on the appointed return date)
    would thus not be binding, and the defendant could not be charged with contempt for failing to comply with such a judgment. Hence, despite its ostensive distancing from the requirements of Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-76, Virginia’s red light camera statute comes full circle and, in the end, requires personal service before a default judgment may be entered against no-shows.”

  13. SOL FCC (Our Little City) on February 1st, 2011 7:22 am

    IIHS logo News Release | February 1, 2011

    Camera enforcement in 14 large cities reduces rate of fatal red light running crashes by 24 percent

    ARLINGTON, VA — Red light cameras saved 159 lives in 2004-08 in 14 of the biggest US cities, a new analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows. Had cameras been operating during that period in all large cities, a total of 815 deaths would have been prevented.

    “The cities that have the courage to use red light cameras despite the political backlash are saving lives,” says Institute president Adrian Lund.

    Full report at:

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