Grace period ends for red light camera in West Oak Lane

WEST OAK LANE - March 6, 2014

As of Thursday, the five-way intersection at Stenton, Ogontz and Chelten avenues became the 26th in the city where violators caught running red lights face a $100 fine. Before then, they were just given warnings.

Over the past seven years 787,000 drivers across Philadelphia have been caught by red-light cameras.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority, which oversees the program, has collected $72-million in fines.

The PPA says camera sites are selected according accident statistics.

However neighbors in the West Oak Lane neighborhood say they don't consider the intersection all that dangerous.

"I was surprised because usually people don't get into accidents," said Janelle Lowery.

"No, it's not a problem at all," said Mike Thomaston.

However, a crossing guard, who declined to be interviewed on-camera, says she sees about half-dozen people run the lights here every morning.

Jenny Robinson of AAA says statistics do show the cameras cut down on fatal accidents.

"The state transportation commission actually did a study on that and found about a 25 percent reduction in fatalities and it clearly does help safety," said Robinson.

And if the bottom line is safety, one neighbor says the camera is a good idea.

"We have two schools that are along this intersection. We have children we have to worry about here so it's a very good thing," said Jacquelin Gibson.

In the coming months it's not just Philadelphia but area townships like Abington and Springfield also have plans to install red-light cameras.

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