LOS ANGELES — Ashley Wilson’s mission to drive to a park above Beverly Hills and hike every morning for a week came with a cost that eclipses the burg’s famously pricey lifestyle.
After assuming that only wild creatures would witness her car roll through a remote stop sign, Wilson was stunned weeks later to get four tickets in the mail totaling $700. A hidden camera had captured her infractions on video.
“I was totally shocked,” Wilson said. “I knew there were signs there. I didn’t think they’d be that strict and be that expensive.”
The stop-sign camera is one of seven scattered in parks along the Santa Monica Mountains that have surprised Southern California road warriors used to seeing red-light cameras and speed traps on their daily drives. During an 18-month period ending May 31, nearly 35,000 citations have been issued and the parks have collected nearly $2 million.
But the nation’s first stop-sign cameras, introduced in 2007, have angered critics who think they’re another aggressive government tactic to squeeze money out of motorists.