Philadelphia officials say speed camera pilot program on Roosevelt Boulevard is working

The pilot program that allows for the cameras will expire next year.

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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"Just don't speed and you won't get a ticket," said Mayor Jim Kenney during a press conference on Tuesday.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As Philadelphia leaders touted the speed camera program on Roosevelt Boulevard as having made the notoriously dangerous road safer, they also made the plea for them to stay.

The pilot program that allows for the cameras will expire next year. If the state legislature does not pass a new bill, the cameras will go away.

"Just don't speed and you won't get a ticket," said Mayor Jim Kenney during a press conference on Tuesday.

City leaders say the cameras have forced people to either slow down or risk getting a ticket.

"We can see from the speeding violation data that since the cameras have been installed, there's been a 93% reduction in speeding violations," said Lilly Reynolds, the deputy director of the office of complete streets.

"I don't think it's fair and I think they should stop it," said Mark Basher from Glen Mills, who takes the boulevard to work every day.

He says he got a $100 ticket from a camera a few months ago. When he paid up, he contributed to $22.8 million in fines the city has collected from 931,000 warnings and violations since 2020.

"People are struggling for money and then they get that on top of not being able to pay their bills," he said.

"The program revenue pays for the program itself. Any surplus revenue after the program is paid for, after the cameras are paid for, goes directly back into safety, street improvements," said Reynolds.

The city also argues the cameras are making the boulevard safer. In 2019, there were 510 crashes along the road, which dropped to 360 in 2020 after the cameras were installed.

"You can tell the groups. You know you're driving and there's a whole group just going the speed limit," said LaTanya Byrd, co-founder of Families for Safe Streets of Greater Philadelphia.

Rather than eliminate the cameras, Philadelphia wants them on more roads, like Broad Street and Henry Avenue. The state would have to pass legislation to allow that.