Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Council Gives Green Light to Cameras at Red Lights 20 Dangerous Spots in City Could Get Enforcement Devices

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Council Gives Green Light to Cameras at Red Lights 20 Dangerous Spots in City Could Get Enforcement Devices

Article excerpt

Sometime next year, Pittsburgh will be the next city to deploy red-light enforcement cameras, as part of a test run that Bill Peduto and other supporters say will increase road safety.

The mayor-elect was struck by an SUV running a red light Downtown 15 years ago, breaking some of his ribs, and just last week his incoming operations officer, Guy Costa, also was hit by a vehicle near the City-County Building. Next year, his administration will target up to 20 intersections judged to be the most dangerous in the city and install cameras there to catch lawbreakers.

"It's going to improve the areas of the city where it's dangerous for pedestrians to cross the street, or motorists to drive," Mr. Peduto said in support of the measure Tuesday.

He and other council members supported the red-light cameras in a 7-2 vote with Councilwomen Theresa Kail-Smith and Natalia Rudiak opposed.

Philadelphia has had the cameras since 2005, and last year the Legislature authorized them in Pittsburgh. Under the new measure, which Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is expected to sign, motorists caught running red lights would face $100 civil penalties that would not affect their auto insurance rates. Fines would not begin until 60 days after the first cameras are installed, and placement of the cameras and timing of the lights would be under state Department of Transportation oversight. Intersections with cameras will be marked with signs.

Around the country, 500 cities have such systems and typically the cameras are connected to traffic signals and pavement sensors that record when drivers enter intersections while signals are red. Those entering during green or yellow lights -- while waiting against traffic to go left, for instance -- would not be cited.

Violators would be identified by their license plate numbers, just as they are at E-ZPass lanes on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Thirty days after the disposition of traffic offenses, the images will be destroyed.

Just like the state legislation, the city's ordinance will have to be reauthorized in mid-2017. If the system does not work, it can be scrapped, Mr. …

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