Back to School
School zone speeding tickets complaints are down
School is back in session, and that means school zone camera enforcement has returned. Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux thinks the community learned a lesson about the cameras last year.
Last school year, the city implemented an automated school zone traffic enforcement camera system on a contract with Blue Line Solutions. The mayor’s office received a large number of complaint calls about tickets issued by the automated system.
Arceneaux said that is not the case early in this school year.
“I am not sure whether the first batch of tickets have gone out,” he said. “But we are not receiving the volume of calls and objections that we had last year with the rollout.”
The mayor said several factors could be at play.
“I know they had a lot more signage,” he said. “There was a lot more publicity.
There was just a lot more knowledge of where these school zones are.
“We’re three weeks into the school year.
Last year, when the enforcement started and people started getting tickets, our office received more calls about that than any other topic, and any other topic combined.
We’re not seeing that level of calls.”
Whatever the reason, compliance is up, Arceneaux said.
“The initial payment percentage has gone way up from the beginning,” he said. “I think people are getting accustomed to it. Hopefully, part of the reason is people are obeying school zones. That’s the first premise, that you’re not supposed to get a ticket if you’re not exceeding the school zone limit. People have either accepted the program, or they are obeying the school zones, or they know, ‘I got caught,’ and they are paying their tickets.”
The city has a process for drivers to appeal tickets issued by the automated system. Arceneaux said the city is working to streamline that process as well.
“We are adding, pending council confirmation, a second hearing officer because there is a backlog of appeals,” he said. “I think they are all from last year. So we are adding a hearing officer, and I think they are going to add a docket time. On the day they hear those appeals, they will have a morning and an afternoon docket to try and clear some of that logjam.
Arceneaux added that Blue Line has selected someone who will work locally, at the company’s expense, to address some of the concerns about the speed zone cameras.
Committee begins identifying priorities
The Citizens Capital Improvements Committee has begun meeting to create a prioritized list of infrastructure projects for bond proposals that will go before voters next April.
“They will be meeting basically every Thursday,” Arceneaux said of the committee appointed by him and the members of the Shreveport City Council. Dr. Larry Clark chairs the committee.
Members of the committee have heard from Shreveport Parks and Recreations staff members about SPAR’s concerns for public buildings and recreation.
Arceneaux said all of the committee’s meetings are open to the public. He added that four “listening sessions” are planned to collect community input.
“Those are for people to express their views about what they think the capital priorities are for the city,” he said. “I think, basically, somewhere north, south, east and west. It’ll be up to them to set those meetings. I don’t know when they will be.”
The committee will present its list of projects and the propositions to the Shreveport City Council for approval. That must be done by the end of this year to get the bond proposals on the April 2024 ballot.
Helping businesses work smarter, not harder
The mayor attended the first meeting of the Small Business Task Force he created to examine how the city works with small business owners.
“I met with its chairman, Dr. Tim Magner, to discuss where that’s going to go and priorities,” Arceneaux said.
That task force’s goal is to “discover the ways we are helping business, the ways we are hurting business, what are the obstacles to people getting in business.”
Arceneaux said he is particularly concerned about issues minority-owned businesses face – “the barriers to entry for African-Americans and what we might be about to do something about that and grow the business class among the African- American community in Shreveport.”