Tampa City Council approves red light cameras

12:50 PM, Apr 7, 2011   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Red light cameras could soon be a reality in the City of Tampa.

The Tampa City Council voted 4 - 3 in approval of putting in the cameras at busy intersections.

This plan was close to passing just months ago, but one council member was out sick and the vote was tied, three to three.

The red light cameras in Tampa would look and work like ones other Bay Area communities. In fact, the company that would install and manage them in Tampa would be the same company that now does it in Hillsborough County and Temple Terrace.

Supporters say two big things would come from adding cameras: One, they're supposed to improve safety at intersections, since drivers would be warned about the cameras and stop racing through on red lights. And two, they make money.

A ticket would cost you $158. That amount is set by state law, and like other tickets, you can challenge it in court.

After paying out to other agencies -- and a monthly fee of up to $4,400 per intersection from the camera company -- the city gets $75 per ticket.

Adding cameras would not cost city taxpayers anything. The camera company would cover any losses.

The city will have 20 cameras. Officials haven't firmed up which intersections will have them, but the cameras are slated to go where there have been the most crashes from red light runners.

Here are the top five:
- Hillsborough Avenue at 40th Street
- Bruce B. Downs Boulevard at Fowler Avenue
- Hillsborough Avenue at Himes Avenue
- Hillsborough Avenue at Dale Mabry Highway
- Gandy Boulevard at Manhattan Avenue

For example, the intersection of Gandy and Manhattan in South Tampa may or may not get a camera. It would depend on a lot of things, including whether the cameras could be set up at the right angles to take the right pictures.

Tampa Police say it could take up to a year for the cameras to be installed. Once the cameras are switched on, there would be one month where drivers get warnings before real tickets start going out.

The red light camera company, called American Traffic Solutions, would also track crashes at intersections where cameras are added.

If statistics show that red light-related crashes go up at an intersection by ten percent or more, the cameras would be considered a distraction and get moved somewhere else.

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Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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