Washington Street

The city of Davenport is planning to install traffic and public safety cameras along Washington Street from Locust Street south to Clay Street. (Google screenshot)

A stretch of Washington Street in Davenport will be ready for its closeup in about a month.

Despite a slight change to its timeline, capital budget analyst Clay Merritt said the city will soon be ready to implement its traffic and public safety pilot program, which will install 18 cameras on Washington Street between Locust and Clay streets.

"The implementation is the first week of April, and from that point, it'll take two to three weeks to install everything and make adjustments for optimization," Merritt said.

The pilot program has been in the works since last year with the city purchasing an integrated wireless system from Chicago-based CDW-G for $53,633 in November.

Originally, the city had planned to buy the wireless solution and software as a package, but Merritt said the city found it would be most cost-effective to not bundle the pieces.

Merritt said the software likely will be purchased shortly and because of its cheaper price, it would fall beneath the threshold needing council approval.

The next step in the process is determine administrative policies for the cameras, which Merritt said would be done at the City Council's next management briefing.

The administrative policies would include who at the Police Department has control, whether they have to review or access the footage, as well as how long it is retained.

Although there is a current debate in the Iowa Legislature about banning or further restricting the use of automated traffic cameras, Merritt said it would not have any effect on Davenport's pilot program regardless of what happens to the bills.

"We had some conversations about it, but the legislation that is in the Statehouse is more geared toward traffic enforcement," Merritt said. "This is simply a live footage camera, and it provides the ability to go back in time to view past footage."

Davenport also has had discussions about other potential locations for camera systems, including major intersections along 53rd Street, Gaines Street from the Centennial Bridge to Locust Street and Kimberly Road and Locust Street.

But before any of those gain any traction, the city wants to evaluate the pilot program and determine the best way to use the system.

"That's why we're calling it a pilot program," Merritt said. "This will ask some questions and find the answers."