The traffic engineering study used by the City of Sugar Land to justify two new red light cameras (westbound Hwy. 90 at Eldridge and westbound University at Elkins) was found to be deficient. This study dated Feb. 16, 2016, was performed by Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for the city and reviewed by professional engineer Joe Bahen of the National Motorists Association.
In his review, which was provided to Kimley-Horn on Dec. 1, Bahen questioned whether the 50-mph speed limit on 90A is lawfully posted pursuant to federal law and FHWA MUTCD Section 2B.13, which requires speed studies of free-flowing vehicles before posting non-statutory limits. The Kimley- Horn study did not reference any 85th percentile speed study that should have set the posted speed limit or determined the proper yellow change interval at the Eldridge intersection. This deficiency also applies to the University at Elkins intersection.
Bahen questioned whether rolling right-on-red violations had caused any crashes on 90A or anywhere else. He specifically questioned whether the right-turn lane on 90A needed to be signalized, and whether Mr. Isaac considered separating the dedicated right turn lane from the adjacent through lane with a painted island and a posted yield sign. Texas Transportation Code § 707.003(c) explicitly requires that Mr. Isaac “determine whether … a change in the signalization of the intersection is likely to reduce the number of red light violations at the intersection.” He did not do that.
Bahen separately stated that Hwy. 90A at Eldridge, with its extremely short yellow change interval, zero grace period, and right-turn trap was among the most egregious red light camera installations that he is aware of nationwide.
Mr. Isaac declined to comment on Bahen’s written review, other than to state that his study was performed in compliance with the firm’s contract with the city.
— Helwig F. Van Der Grinten
Founder, Houston Coalition Against Red Light Cameras