Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, January 16 , 2019, 4:29 am | Mostly Cloudy 52º


Santa Barbara Officials Say Traffic Cameras at City Intersections Are Not ‘Big Brother’

Cameras that detect motion have been installed at many of the busier intersections only to help with traffic flow

The traffic cameras hovering above Santa Barbara intersections may conjure up fears of Big Brother surveillance, but the city’s traffic engineers say the cameras are only to help with traffic flow.

Cameras have been installed at many of the city’s busier intersections during the past several years, according to traffic engineer Derrick Bailey. He said many intersections have timed lights, but busier intersections have the traffic cameras installed to detect motion and maximize the green time at the light.

“You get a lot of people thinking Big Brother is watching, but it’s nothing like that,” Bailey said. “We can’t even play the video back.”

Bailey says the city doesn’t record anything, so people who call the city asking for video after they’ve been in accident are disappointed.

“The resolution is really low, and we can’t even tell the make and model of the vehicles,” he said.

Only with the camera at the intersection of State and Mission streets can the city see video, and only then it is a live stream and unable to be played back.

The cameras are mounted on the mast arms of the traffic signals on Chapala Street and Upper State and are slated for other intersections.

One will go in at Anacapa and Carrillo streets as the city rebuilds that intersection. Bailey said T-bone collisions have long been an issue there, and the cameras will be put in along with a mast arm for the traffic signals as well as pedestrian counter screens for the crosswalks there.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >