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St. Pete Delays Adding More Red Light Cameras

City Council voted 5-3 Thursday to delay installing new red light cameras in St. Petersburg.

Citing the need to wait for an entire years worth of data before expanding the red light camera program in St. Petersburg, City Council voted 5-3 to delay installing additional red light cameras. 

City staff was recommending adding cameras to existing and new intersections as early as November. 

Council member Jeff Danner, who was upset about learning of the new cameras from the public and not city admin, said he did not want to shutdown the program but rather wanted to have more concrete data before expansion. 

"The fact that the program is already expanding offends me," Danner said. 

He said the city should go through an entire school, winter, tourist, and etc season before committing to more cameras. 

"I want to support this. I think it is something that can benefit this community," Danner said of red light cameras. In that meeting we said we want to see a year’s worth of data (before expanding). I don’t want to kill this program, ... (but) I don’t want the cameras expanded until we see a years worth of data."

The data the city does have is for eight months, which shows that the red light cameras in St. Peter are doing their job.   

Joe Kubicki, director of the city's transportation and parking management department, said the cameras are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. 

According to Kubicki, at the intersections where the red light cameras are installed there has been a significant drop in crashes. 

  • Red light running related crashes are down 34.6 percent
  • Red light running crash severity down 17.5 percent
  • Red light running rear-end crashes are down 43.6 percent

"Over eight months, the information is very positive," Kubicki said. 

During the eight months, Kubicki said there has been no red light running fatalities at the intersections. 

An outspoken critic of the St. Pete red light camera system, Matt Florell said yellow light times at intersections are inconsistent and that the red light cameras give faulty data to police — such as a car taking a right turn at 96 mph. 

In a report by Florell given to council members, he said longer yellow light times would reduce red light running. 

"City staff is going to tell you that their yellow light timing "meets state requirements", and they are correct: the state requirements for yellow signal timing are very flexible. However, the data from these red light camera citations shows that with longer yellow times there is a drastic reduction in red light violations, as evidenced by the data at 38th Ave. N. and 66th St. N. Longer yellow signals lead to less red light violations, which makes the intersections safer."

Kubicki and staff from St. Pete Police said a highly skilled employee reviews all citations before anyone is sent a ticket. 

According to city documents, the yellow light times are consistent with state and national standards. 

"All signalized intersections were reviewed by staff prior to the start of the program and all locations with traffic safety cameras were inspected by the Florida DOT prior to a permit being issued to ensure all meet or exceeded the state required interval. Clearance intervals meet or exceed all state and national requirements and have not been adjusted at any location." 

Mayor Bill Foster said he stands behind the red light cameras in St. Petersburg. 

"This is an intersection public safety program. It is about public safety," he said.  "We have professional experts that you pay for to assess this. This is not a hobby. This is their job.

"I wish we didn’t have to do this. I hate red light cameras, (but) this is the only way that we can modify people’s behavior because they do stupid things some times. This is the way that we can modify people’s negligent behavior," Foster added.  

Red October 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM
We'll give'em a fair trial. .. ... and THEN we'll hang'em.
Dharma October 19, 2012 at 01:43 PM
the one thing that works they do not vote for. vote for everything else that doesnt. maybe city councils arent able to know the difference? i say more cameras everywhere, if ur not doing anything wrong this is a sure proving of it and you have to go to court to fit any tickets.
Sheree Rensel October 19, 2012 at 02:48 PM
I don't have any problem with red light cameras. In fact, I love sitting at a red light watching all the flash, flash, flash while red light runners go on there way. I say put them up everywhere! :-)
Stephen October 22, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Given that this is the same article in another paper, this post says it all on the "highly skilled" comment by the city! Wonder if that person is as "highly skilled" as another ATS site in Opa Locka. There ATS and the POLICE cited a funeral procession UNDER POLICE ESCORT WITH POLICE OFFICERS IN THE RLC FOOTAGE! http://www.wsvn.com/features/articles/helpmehoward/MI92368/ Quote: "Take a look at the videos. You can see the red light cameras flashing as the funeral procession goes through 135th Street and 27th Avenue in Opa-Locka. You may have also noticed the three police officers the family hired, stopping traffic for the procession. Pedro Dominguez: "You can see my mom's hearse, the limo, everybody going through the red light at the officer's advisement. He's leading us through the red light." The limo with family members got a $158 ticket. Pedro got a $158 ticket. At least three other cars got tickets, tickets signed by an Opa-Locka police officer who left his badge number. ADDED QUOTE: When I spoke to American Traffic Solutions, the company that handles the red light cameras, a spokesman told me his company reviews each tape before they are forwarded to the government agency, that they did not make a mistake in this case, that the agreement with Opa-Locka requires them to forward any potential violations with an officer in the intersection to the city for review."
Stephen October 22, 2012 at 09:51 PM
FIGHT THE RLC FRAUD! BAN THE CAMS! www.motorists.org www.banthecams.org camerafraud on Facebook
James C. Walker October 22, 2012 at 10:22 PM
The yellow intervals may meet state standards which were changed in July 2011 to permit cities to use yellows that are too short for the actual approach speeds of vehicles. The yellows will NOT meet the proper national engineering standards which require yellows long enough for the ACTUAL 85th percentile speeds of vehicles. Florida's rules required yellows long enough for 85th percentile speeds until June 2011, but cities can use shorter ones since July 2011. Could the fact the state rakes off the first $83 of each $158 ticket have anything to do with the state allowing the less-safe too-short yellows? Wouldn't you like to be on the receiving end of $83 for every one of the thousands and thousands of camera tickets statewide? The money comes in so fast it is hard to count it. But it is a total money-grab scam, not a safety program. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI

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