St. Pete Removes Red Light Cameras for the Wrong Reason

Mayor Rick Kriseman The St. Petersburg City Council agreed to end their contract for red light cameras, with American Traffic Solutions, on September 30, 2014.

Mayor Rick Kriseman started the process with a memo to City Council on Wednesday, March 5. Kriseman wrote:

After two years of the implementation of this program, it is clear that red light cameras have done their jobs, that driver behavior is changing, and that St. Petersburg is now safer. Crashes have been reduced citywide. These cameras have changed the culture of our roads.

Because driver behavior has changed, we have seen a decrease in the revenue generated by these cameras. At the current pace, the revenues are expected to fall below the costs of the program in September of this year. Should the program continue beyond tomorrow's City Council meeting, and should red light running behavior continue to improve resulting in revenues which fall below the costs of the program, we will remove cameras at that time.

On Thursday, March 6, The St. Petersburg City Council voted 6-2 to end the red light camera program by September 30th.

Sadly, this decision was reached because of money, not safety.

Who Voted For Red Light Cameras in St. Pete?

Jim Kennedy, a personal injury lawyer, and Bill Dudley, a former Pinellas County Wrestling Coach of the Year, voted to keep the red light cameras.

Kennedy, who received $1000 in campaign contributions from red light camera lobbyists, tried to ignore the facts. Kennedy said:

I would be willing to pay extra for the cameras to be there for public safety. It's not about income, it's about public safety.

Bill Dudley, the Chair of the St. Petersburg City Council, said that using shorter yellow lights as an excuse for driving through an intersection was a "bunch of baloney", although accidents and tickets dropped when short yellow lights were extended.

I was unable to learn if Kriseman or Dudley received campaign contributions from ATS.

I hope that Pinellas County voters remember their votes and attitudes during the next election.

Red light cameras are all about money, not safety. Americans should be represented by bureaucrats who want to improve their standard of living.

Melissa Wandall Returns

Melissa Wandall, who helped start the red light camera fiasco with Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act, also spoke to the City Council. However, Ms. Wandall is biased. You can hire her to speak about red light cameras.

Melissa Wandall is also the President of National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR). NCSR lobbies Florida municipal governments to install red light cameras. NCSR is funded by American Traffic Solutions, the company that sold red light cameras to St. Petersburg.

Flawed Reports

Red light cameras increase rear-end crashes. This information was omitted from a report sent to the St. Pete City Council in 2011.

Props to Matt Florell for research and sheer determination, to point out the flaws of red light camera system.

What About Tampa?

Channelside. Tampa, Florida Tampa has LOTS of tourists. I see them when I ride my bicycle along RiverWalk and Channelside. I pass boatloads of prosperous tourists and expensive restaurants.

I do not wish hardships on anyone. Nevertheless, I hope that many of these tourists find bills for red light cameras when they get home.

Tampa is ignoring the safety of its citizens, by adding more red light cameras. Tampanians need complaints from tourists to get rid of red light cameras to Pinellas County citizens and legislators.