Members of the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee met today to hear testimony in support of a Pa. Senate bill proposing the use of automated speed enforcement cameras in Philadelphia.
Senate bill 1211 proposes the installation of cameras along the Roosevelt Boulevard (U.S. 1) to capture images of vehicles license plates for drivers caught speeding 10 mph or more above the limit. A driver caught violating the speed limit will face a $100 fine.
The committee heard testimony from several transportation experts and local officials including, Philadelphia's Deputy Mayor for Transportation, Rina Cutler, and Philadelphia Police Department Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
Also appearing to testify at the hearing was Tara Banks. Banks is a family member of Samara Selena Banks. Samara Banks and three of her four children were killed when they were hit by a speeding car while crossing Roosevelt Boulevard last July.
While the bill does not indicate specific proposed locations for the cameras, tragic accidents along the 12-lane highway, like the one involving Banks' family, make the Boulevard a likely target for the new devices.
State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Pa. 5th), who introduced the bill in December 2013, has been vocal about Boulevard safety. Shortly after the Banks' family accident, Stack suggested a number of ideas to improve safety including extending the safety corridor limits, reconstructing parts of the roadway and cracking down on drag racers.
Walkers and drivers who frequent Roosevelt Boulevard weighed-in on the proposed camera installations. Many of them said they support the idea.
Local resident Kyle Lorman said he hopes the cameras will help lower the number of crashes occurring along the Boulevard.
"Hopefully it'll stop crashes," he said. "I'm always careful when going across the street, make sure they stop before I'm going because I've nearly been hit a couple of times already."
Curt Searle and Brandon Shivers, both residents who walk along the Boulevard regularly said a crack down on speeding on the highway is definitely needed.
"I describe it as madness, people always in a hurry, like they're going to a fire. They always in a hurry. They don't care about nobody crossing the boulevard," Searle said.
"Hopefully, they slow them down and stop all of this crazy madness. It's a game where people try to cross the street without getting hit."
"I think it's a good idea because this Roosevelt Boulevard is crazy," Shivers said.
According to PennDOT data there were nearly 3,000 crashes and 43 fatalities on the Boulevard in the past five years. 147 of those crashes involved pedestrians.