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Cyclist on Poly Drive

A cyclist rides down Poly Drive at 13th Street West in this 2015 file photo.

A Police Department presentation on the possibility of issuing electronic citations for traffic offenses is on Monday’s Billings City Council work session agenda.

Monday’s meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 220 N. 27th Street.

According to material included in the council’s Friday packet, Billings officers write nearly 12,000 citations each year. Issuing an electronic, rather than a written, citation, saves officers about 10 minutes per citation.

Other benefits of the so-called “e-cite” system include increased officer safety, decreased inconvenience among drivers who are cited and reduced errors that can be introduced by sloppy handwriting and inaccurate hand-entering.

To fund the program, the department plans to use drug forfeiture funds to purchase the initial software and equipment for the four patrol cars used by Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) officers. The department will ask the council during a business meeting to enact a $5 per ticket surcharge to place equipment in up to a dozen patrol cars every year until the entire fleet is outfitted.

Complete Streets progress report

In a memo, Lora Mattox, a transportation planner, said the update she’ll present “includes information and data on all the transportation modes as well as information regarding community health and economics.”

She plans to present traffic count data, crash data and information on the complete streets elements that have been implemented over the past four years.

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The pedestrian count data shows an increase in the amount of people walking, she noted. Six locations were counted via a camera system; each showed increased pedestrian activity.

Bicycling counts showed a mixed trend, she wrote. Areas including 38th Street West and Rimrock Road “showed a significant increase in biking,” while Minnesota Avenue and N. 27th Street showed a slight decrease.

Because the report is informational only, the council need not take action on it, Mattox wrote.

Two more items – prostitution and trafficking, and augmented police service at Billings Clinic – are on the agenda. But the Friday packet didn’t include information on either presentation.

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City Government Reporter

City reporter for The Billings Gazette.