By Alex Lloyd Gross
Mayor James Kenney signed legislation enacting speed cameras to be installed on portions of the Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia. The cameras should be operational by fall and collecting money after a 60 day grace period. This means that instead of tickets, a motorist will get a warning. They do not have to pay any money during the 60 day warning period, officials said during a press event at city hall today.
After the 60 days, that is when fines are issued. The fines start at $100.00 if you are clocked going 11 miles over the speed limit. Anything 25 over is a $150.00 fine and there are no points on your license, said Mike Carroll Managing Director for the city of Philadelphia. People that thumb their nose at the tickets will not have their vehicle Live Stopped due to unpaid speed camera tickets alone. “We get the money, we collect about 80 percent of the tickets that are issued,” said Scott Petri who is in charge of the Philadelphia Parking Authority. That is who you have to appeal to, should you want to fight a ticket. The Parking Authority. When asked about the 20 percent, that do not pay, Petri said “Everything has a small percentage of people that do not pay. We collect money for tickets 20 years old.” Unpaid tickets could impact your credit report.
This is not about money and revenue collection. That statement was uttered by just about every politician that came up to speak. In practicality, it IS about revenue generation. A person gets stopped by the police. That officer can cut a break due to circumstances and issue a warning. These speed cameras do not issue warnings. So someone rushing home to an emergency, a doctor or someone driving someone to a hospital all get tickets. The procedure of appealing these tickets means you send in your request for a hearing. The date is set and you show up to 100 South Broad Street and plead your case. The hours are daytime only so you probably will miss work to do this.
If you work downtown it might not be too inconvenient. If you do not, you have to take off a half day. Figure you make $10/hr. You lose $40.00, which is equal to half a days pay. Figure in gas, and parking for about $20.00 and you have spent about $80.00 to fight a $100.00 ticket and there is no guarantee you will win. If you do not, you can appeal and spend more time and money. Most people will just send in a check.
If you have a lead foot, you only will get 3 tickets within 30 minutes. All other violations from the time that the first violation is issued will not be issued by the program until 30 minutes has passed. “Those tickets will get your attention, they are not cheap,” Petri said.
Carroll said that the cameras will be in fixed locations and there will be signs warning on the enforcement by speed cameras. They will not be uprooted and moved. Each location will have four cameras to cover all travel lanes of the Roosevelt Blvd. “We are sill examining this and have not yet determined exactly where they will be placed.” Carroll said. He said they are looking at about 20 locations.
Most accidents on Roosevelt Boulevard are inter sectional accidents. It is difficult to see foresee how this program will help, as the red light camera program has actually increased accidents. People slam their brakes and smash the vehicle in front of them. It is quite possible that this program can cause the same kinds of crashes. Few accidents happen mid block.
The Roosevelt Blvd runs through five council districts. It would be a fair statement to make that all of them will have these cameras installed at some point. The Roosevelt Blvd is not considered a modern highway. It was designed with traffic in the 1950’s.