Stack supports speed cameras on Boulevard

The state Sen­ate Trans­port­a­tion Com­mit­tee last week held a hear­ing at the Pennsylvania Con­ven­tion Cen­ter to con­sider le­gis­la­tion sponsored by Sen. Mike Stack that would al­low Phil­adelphia to use auto­mated cam­er­as to en­force speed lim­its along Roosevelt Boulevard.

The cam­er­as would pho­to­graph the li­cense plates of mo­tor­ists driv­ing more than 10 mph over the pos­ted speed lim­it. The mo­tor­ists would be as­sessed a $100 tick­et.

“I in­tro­duced this bill simply to save lives,” Stack said. “It’s en­cour­aging to hear from ex­perts that we have the right idea, and their testi­mony will help guide us through the pro­cess of pas­sage and will help con­vince oth­ers of the im­port­ance of the ef­fort.”

Mi­chael D. Fa­gin, of the In­sur­ance In­sti­tute for High­way Safety, test­i­fied about stud­ies in cit­ies that have in­stalled speed cam­er­as. Those stud­ies show re­duc­tions in speed­ing vi­ol­a­tions of more than 80 per­cent.

“If you im­ple­ment speed cam­er­as as Sen­at­or Stack has im­posed, I am con­fid­ent that you will see a re­duc­tion in crashes and vi­ol­a­tions,” Fa­gin said.

Stack and Sen. Shir­ley Kit­chen hos­ted the hear­ing, chaired by Sen. John Raf­ferty, at the Pennsylvania Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

Sen­ate Bill 1211 would au­thor­ize auto­mated speed en­force­ment over 15 miles of high­way con­sidered among the most dan­ger­ous in Amer­ica.

Stack noted that the Boulevard is dot­ted with me­mori­als to vic­tims of traffic ac­ci­dents.

Phil­adelphia Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Charles Ram­sey test­i­fied that the de­part­ment is try­ing to change the cul­ture of ra­cing and high-speed driv­ing on the Boulevard. He said cur­rent traffic en­force­ment tac­tics alone simply can­not bring about this change.

“Throughout my en­tire ca­reer in law en­force­ment, this road­way is, without doubt, the most dan­ger­ous I have ever en­countered,” he said. “To my know­ledge, there is no oth­er road­way like it in the coun­try.”

Jason Duck­worth, of the trans­port­a­tion ad­vis­ory group Pen­Trans, test­i­fied that the le­gis­la­tion will not hurt tax­pay­ers.

“This bill is one of those rare op­por­tun­it­ies where we can save lives and im­prove our trans­port­a­tion sys­tem at nearly no cost to the gov­ern­ment,” he said.

Alex Doty, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the Bi­cycle Co­ali­tion of Great­er Phil­adelphia, said, “The best way to re­duce fatal­it­ies is to re­duce speed, and the best way to re­duce speed is with speed en­force­ment cam­er­as.” ••

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