New sensors make Kelly Drive speedsters stop at red

PHILADELPHIA - November 19, 2013

"We found out the speed was somewhere around 54.8 miles per hour in a 35 miles per hour zone," Richard Montanez of the Streets Department said.

Back in March, a motorist was going too fast and died when he plunged into the Schuylkill River.

Determined to deter speeders, the city Streets Department has imbedded sensors in the roadway, three of them in each lane about 6 feet apart in both directions approaching Fountain Green Drive. They read the average speed the motorist is going and send the reading to receivers on top of the traffic light.

"If the speed's above a certain threshold over the speed limit then we trigger a red," Montanez said.

So if one motorist is exceeding the speed limit, everybody stops at the Fountain Geen red light. Temporary signs in both directions alert drivers that speeding will trigger the red.

"I think it's a good idea to stop speeding, plus there's a lot of curves up there," Katie Sullivan said.

"I don't think that will stop people from going fast; it's a habit," Mark Pruitt said.

But the Streets Department says so far the $11,000 system is working, motorists are starting to slow down.

"This is actually our first trial and if it's successful, we're planning to keep it here obviously and perhaps implement in other locations throughout the city," Montanez said.

Other possible roadways where this could be installed include Lincoln Drive and the Roosevelt Boulevard.

Next year, the city will also coat Kelly Drive with a special surface aimed at helping to reduce accidents on rainy days.

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