Red Light Cameras coming to Belmont & Parkside

by Manuel McDonnell Smith
Get ready to stop on a dime, or pay a fine at the intersection of Belmont and Parkside Avenues.
The Parkside Journal has confirmed that the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) plans to install Red Light Camera equipment at the intersection. According to Authority Spokesman Martin O’Rourke “construction is set to begin mid-September and be completed by the first or second week of October.”
Since 2005, the PPA has equipped over 25 intersections with the technology. The cameras watch traffic and photograph vehicles that drive into the intersection after the light has turned red. The photos are then sent via wireless signal to a control center where they for reviewed by PPA Employees and a Philadelphia Police Officer. If they conclude that a driver illegally crossed through a stop signal, a $100 fine is then issued to the car’s license plate holder.

While their installation is controversial among drivers, officials defend the cameras saying they reduce accidents and increase safety. “This intersection suggested by the local Councilperson’s office.” said the PPA’s O’Rourke “A study was done and it showed a high number of Red Light running at this intersection.”

Traffic at the corner has seen an increase in recent years with drivers using the intersection to travel to the new Park West Shopping Center and buses going to the new Discovery Charter School.  With the reopening of the old Leidy School in September, even more traffic will return to this busy location. After the cameras are up and installed, the Journal will continue to watch this location to see if traffic conditions improve or become worse.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 12.29.52 PMFor the immediate time, neighborhood drivers should be sure to stop behind the white lines when stopping at this corner. While the lights are scheduled to be active by late October, O’Rourke says “there will be a 45-day warning period” in which letters, but no tickets will be issued following the cameras’ installation.

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