Red-light cameras a success in Springs, Parkland may follow suit

Parkland has taken note of the success Coral Springs has had with its red-light cameras and is likely to take the same route to curb red light running.

Coral Springs, which introduced cameras at seven of its busiest intersections, generated an average of 150 violations per week last month. This is in contrast to approximately 250 violations when the cameras went live in September. No cases from Coral Springs have been challenged in court.

At a recent workshop, Parkland officials were unanimously in favor of having red-light cameras installed at traffic intersections within the city. The issue will come up before the City Commission for vote in the near future.

Coral Springs’ success with the cameras was among the points raised by Parkland Police Chief Marvin Stoner at a recent workshop where he spoke about the feasibility of such cameras in the city. Rear-end collisions increased 19 percent at the intersections with cameras during the public awareness phase, but the number has steadily come down since, he said.

The city, which has three intersections with traffic lights, has initiated talks with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) on the program. After their analysis, the company has determined that only one approach – westbound on Holmberg Road at University Drive – needs a red light camera, Stoner said.

Red-light cameras are said to cause up to 50 percent reduction in red-light running violations and up to 30 percent reduction in crashes severe enough to cause injuries, Stoner said. The cameras also result in up to 24 percent reduction in right-angle crashes, he added.

According to the ATS proposal, the cost of equipment and installation is about $100,000. The city would not have to bear any costs as the company will maintain ownership of the equipment. Each camera would cost $4,750 per month, but the city wouldn’t have to pay the company more than the fines that are collected. The fine for a violation is $158, of which the city would receive $75.

“I don’t want to see any city dollars being spent on this,” Mayor Michael Udine said. “The cost should be borne through citations to people who run red lights. I want us to look at this in greater detail.”

Commissioner Jared Moskowitz said he would fight to bring red light cameras to the city. Moskowitz is currently recuperating after having surgery for a wrist injury that was caused by a man who ran a red light in a stolen car.

“This is something I will fight for,” he said. “There is no reason why we should not be considering this. Let this come up before the commission for a vote. Red-light cameras reduce accidents at intersections.”

Commissioner Dave Rosenof did not want the city to be under any pressure to issue citations. “I want to be sure that it costs the city nothing and that there is no pressure on us to issue citations. I am generally in favor of red-light cameras, but the devil is in the details. I have done research on the subject; lots of people have challenged their tickets and won. “

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/parkland/fl-cspf-redlight-0126-20120127,0,6452353.story?track=rss

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