Columbus officials apparently paid little attention to Heath voters back in November.

Columbus officials apparently paid little attention to Heath voters back in November.

Heath residents had voted overwhelmingly to do away with the Redflex cameras.

Columbus, on the other hand, cited a significant reduction in the number of crashes there in its consideration to doubling its number of red-light cameras.

Columbus council member Andy Ginther said the city could add another 20 cameras at various intersections across the city, bringing the full complement to 40. Columbus now has red-light cameras at 18 intersections, two with multiple cameras. Since the first one was installed in 2006, there's been a 76.7 percent reduction in crashes involving red-light running at those sites, the city says.

"We're very pleased with the success of the program," Ginther said.

For example, there's been a 60 percent reduction in accidents at the intersection of Fourth Street and Mount Vernon Avenue, the highest crash site to receive a camera.

The city will pay Redflex, the city's red-light camera provider, $31,000 to study which intersections are most dangerous, council spokesman John Ivanic said. The Department of Public Safety, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the police department will assist in the study, Ivanic said.

Legislation could be up for consideration in 30 days, Ginther said March 19.

Ginther said there's no capital investment. Redflex provides and maintains all the equipment and splits the revenue with the city, he said. The city is negotiating a new contract with Redflex that will change the revenue-sharing agreement to the benefit of the city. Since the cameras were installed, the city has collected 31 percent of the fines and Redflex 69 percent. A future agreement would net the city 65 percent and Redflex 45 percent.

In addition, the company would provide the city two radar-equipped SUVs, which would be strategically placed at school zones, pools and recreation centers, or places where children tend to congregate.

"These cameras are saving people's lives," Ginther said. "I don't think there's anything more important for people than safe passage of children getting to and from schools and rec centers."

Jennifer Adair, president of the Northwest Civic Association, said residents haven't complained since a red-light camera was placed at the corner of Henderson and Gettysburg roads.

"We haven't heard anything about it, good or bad," she said.

Despite their apparent effectiveness in reducing automobile crashes, red-light cameras have their fair share of critics, some of whom worry about more government intrusion in their lives. Basically, when a car runs a red light, the cameras take a picture of the vehicle. Tickets are then issued. In Columbus, fines are $95 each. In 2008, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that cities could fine drivers based on the photographic evidence.

Ginther defends the cameras as a matter of public safety for motorists, passengers and pedestrians.

"This has never been about revenue," he said. "I know folks who oppose this think it is. This has been about education, awareness and prevention and gets dramatic results."