Philly Mayor Signs Bill Bringing Speeding-Ticket Cameras to Roosevelt Boulevard

The cameras will be installed along a stretch of the notoriously deadly Roosevelt Boulevard

What to Know

  • Speed cameras are coming to the Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia.
  • A more than 11-mile stretch from Ninth Street through Northeast Philadelphia has long had the reputation as the deadliest road in the city.
  • The cameras are expected to be installed before the end of 2019.

Cameras equipped to capture the speed of passing motor vehicles will be installed along Roosevelt Boulevard north of 9th Street to Philadelphia's border with Bucks County.

Mayor Jim Kenney signed the legislation for the installation of the new cameras. He held a news conference announcing the law Wednesday.

Here are some answers about the speed-camera plan:

When Will the Cameras Be Ready to Go?

The cameras are expected to be installed before the end of 2019. Exact dates and locations have yet to be determined. Officials say data will drive the camera locations.

What Fines Will Drivers Face?

Drivers going faster than the speed limit along the more than 11-mile stretch will be given warnings during an initial 60-day grace period. Warning signs will be posted in the area of the expected seven to 11 camera locations.

After the grace period, cameras will be programmed to take photos of any vehicles going 11 mph over the 45-mph speed limit and mail them a ticket.

  • Vehicles going between 11 and 20 miles over the speed limit would be fined $100.
  • Vehicles going between 21 and 30 miles over the speed limit would be fined $125
  • Vehicles going more than 31 miles over the speed limit would be fined $150, according to the legislation.

Fines increase if drivers don't respond to tickets within 30 days.

What Is the Purpose of the Speed Cams?

The point of the program is to save lives, city officials said Wednesday.

Supporters of the legislation, which is part of the city's Vision Zero road safety initiative, include the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and Families for Safe Streets of Greater Philadelphia.

"Managing speeds to save lives is a cornerstone of Vision Zero," a spokeswoman for Kenney said after City Council green lighted the legislation last month. "With around 100 people being killed in traffic crashes on Philadelphia streets every year, we are committed to continuing to bring to together street design, education, enforcement, and policy changes that will manage speeds and, thus, save lives making Philadelphia streets safe for everyone."

The cameras could also serve as a moneymaker for the City.

Speed cameras already operate in other cities, including New York City, where 600 new cameras were recently approved for streets around city schools.

In Washington, D.C., an incredible 1 million tickets were issued via speed cameras in 2017.

In Maryland, speed cameras across the state brought in $64 million in revenuein 2018.

The Dangers of the Roosevelt Boulevard

The stretch of Roosevelt Boulevard from Hunting Park at Ninth Street to Northeast Philadelphia's border with Bucks County is more highway than inter-city thoroughfare.

Between 2013 and 2017, 139 people died or were seriously hurt, according to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation statistics provided by Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, who sponsored the speed-camera legislation.

The boulevard, which is six lanes and expands to as much as 12 lanes the farther north it goes, has long been known as one of the deadliest in all of Pennsylvania. 

Red-light cameras have operated for years in some locations along the boulevard. But problems with those cameras' functionality have hindered their success in slowing speeding drivers or lessening fatalities.

"We know that speed is especially deadly for people walking and biking, and that if we can get motorists to change their behavior and slow down, we can reduce crashes and save lives," Parker said.

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