TribLIVE

| State


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pa. suburb may get red-light cameras for 1st time

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

ABINGTON — A community just north of Philadelphia could become the first suburb in the state to install red-light cameras under a new law allowing the devices to be used outside Pennsylvania's largest city.

Township commissioners in Abington voted 14-1 last week to install the devices at three busy intersections, according to the Bucks County Courier Times. The plan requires a final green light from the state Department of Transportation.

For the past eight years, Philadelphia has been the only place in Pennsylvania where surveillance cameras can snap pictures of cars that fail to stop at red lights. Scofflaws are fined $100.

But a state law approved last year permits Pittsburgh, Abington and 11 other municipalities to consider installing the devices. Several of those communities have discussed the idea, but Abington is the furthest along in the process, PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said.

Critics say the cameras invade motorists' privacy without having a clear-cut effect on safety. And the state Transportation Advisory Committee has warned that red-light cameras might not prove financially feasible outside of urban settings.

“If you're a smaller municipality with low-volume intersections ... it could be more cost-effective to pay for some police overtime or some low-cost safety improvements,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Jenny Robinson said.

Of the $10 million in fines Philadelphia collected in 2011-12, about $7 million went to pay expenses, the Philadelphia Parking Authority reported. The agency is working to collect more than $10 million in unpaid violations.

The fines are first used to cover installation and maintenance costs of the cameras, while surplus money goes into a statewide fund. The fund has distributed $14.6 million in grants for local traffic safety projects since 2010, and another $8.8 million is up for grabs in 2013, according to PennDOT.

Abington Commissioner Steven Kline, the only board member to oppose the cameras, called them “extremely controversial.” He said he received about 150 letters from residents upset about their planned use.

“I think there's enough stuff on both sides to make you wonder and to stay away from them,” Kline said.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Pennsylvania

  1. Ohio woman shot to death nearly 3 days before police find body in Neshannock home
  2. DEP awaiting tests for ‘cat urine’ smell in New Castle
  3. Crawford County man gets prison — and lecture — for tattooing 12-year-old
  4. Pennsylvania legislative leader Costa blasts suggestion of session before Wolf sworn in as governor
  5. Conneaut Lake Park to take case to court for tax-exempt status
  6. Feds accused of bullying state over police test
  7. Pa. high court stops closure of health centers
  8. Geologist: Site of idyllic 1833 painting of Lancaster found
  9. Pennsylvania human services agency gets new name
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.