By Alex Lloyd Gross
The most controversial enforcement program is going to start this spring on the Roosevelt Boulevard. The installation of speed cameras and ticketing of drivers that exceed the posted speed limit by more than 11 MPH. A press conference was held today, January 13, 2020 on the Blvd at Solly Avenue, one of the first locations to get a camera.
“We had to pull teeth to get this passed, there was a lot of opposition by lawmakers across the state and a lot of push back from the motoring public,” said former State Representative John Taylor. The idea is to get motorists to slow down. ” I hope we do not issue one ticket, it will be worth it,” said Scott Petri, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
The program is as popular as root canal surgery . At the press conference, officials there did not have answers to standard question asked by the media, such as statistical information on accident reduction and they did not have concrete information on enforcement of this program. What happens if you get both a ticket from the police and the camera? It could fall under double jeopardy and prosecution could be hindered. no one had the answer. When asked about the cost of the equipment, no one had that answer either.
Opponents of this program point out that the fines will create a hardship, especially among low income drivers. When a ticket is issued and the driver feels it is in error, the have to go to the Bureau of Administrative Review in center city to fight it. They have to take off a day’s work, pay to park and hope for the best. If they lose they have to pay $100.00 or more and there are no payment arrangements. They can also file an appeal with the court to fight it in court. “This is about changing behavior”,Petri said. “It is easy for him to be dismissive about losing a days pay at his salary. If he was paid $8.00 /hr he would be livid,” said Monica Vargas, who was outside the Parking Authority waiting to pay a ticket.
City officials point to multiple deaths involving cars crashes to support this program. There will be eight camera locations. All on the Roosevelt Boulevard. Banks Way, F Street, Deveraux Ave. Harbison Ave. Strahle Street, Grant Ave. Red lion Road and Hornig Road. People will slow down in those areas and then speed back up. It is human nature. All lanes will be covered. “We don’t want people switching lanes to avoid the cameras, that is dangerous, ” Petri said.
Philadelphia has a lot of scofflaws, people that ignore tickets. If you choose to ignore this ticket, you could wind up getting your vehicle impounded. If you are driving from out of state, that is harder to do. It is also harder to enforce local, civil penalties on a vehicle registered out of state, especially out of the geographical area. The areas where cameras will be installed will have signs warning drivers.
Once installed, there is a 60 day grace period where warnings are issued. After that, tickets are issued.