Proposed Red Light Intersection Changed
The Abington Public Safety Committee decides to re-advertise its red light camera ordinance.
The Abington Public Safety Committee has postponed the "red light camera" talk until April.
Originally slated to be on the agenda for the March 14 board of commissioners meeting, the public safety committee pushed the agenda item back a month because it changed its mind on one of the intersections that could receive such a camera.
Now, the red light camera ordinance would apply to the following three intersections:
- Old York and Susquehanna roads
- Moreland and Fitzwatertown roads and
- Old Welsh and Old York roads
Abington Township Manager Michael LeFevre said some of the commissioners balked at the idea of having a red light camera at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Susquehanna Road; the next intersection on the list was at Old Welsh Road.
Abington Police Deputy Chief Michael Webb said during a December presentation that Abington is one of 13 municipalities in the state approved to consider red light cameras due to its size and its police department’s accreditation status.
The program would be revenue neutral; the vendors receive a flat fee each month and the fee does not correlate to the number of citations issued.
- Capture the date, time, posted speed, approximate speed of vehicle, color of the light, length of the previous yellow light, length of red signal, and plate
- Shoot only the rear image of a vehicle
- Are not permitted to be used for surveillance
- The Vendor installs, maintains and transfers the images to the Abington Police Department
- Is a civil fine
- Is $100
- Does not interfere with insurance premiums
- Is linked to the vehicle, not the driver
- Funds in excess of running the program go back to PennDOT for transportation enforcement grants
According to Webb, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation determines which intersections qualify for a red light camera based on congestion, traffic volume and PennDOT crash statistics. There are 12 intersections in the township that meet the criteria for having a red light camera.
Abington Police Chief William Kelly, who is a proponent of the cameras, said Wednesday that he’s thinking of a proposed red light camera program as a “trial period.” He added that Springfield, Delaware County, has already put bids out for the cameras — and for a higher number of intersections.
“I can tell you, I don’t know any cases where [a municipality] put them in and had a bad experience and decided to turn around and take them out,” Kelly said, adding that removal is always an option.
“It all comes down to enforcement,” Kelly continued. “Enforcement is what gets you traffic safety. The cost of enforcement with an officer is so much higher, and the officer has to make the judgment call — and he has to do it without the benefit of instant replay.”
According to an AP report, a New Jersey study found that intersections equipped with red light cameras saw fewer serious crashes, but those intersections saw a 20-percent increase in rear-end crashes. Webb conceded that there were more rear-end crashes, but said that in Philadelphia, those rear-end collisions curtailed after the first year.
In mid November, the firm Public Policy Polling asked 900 Montgomery County residents what they thought of red light cameras. Sixty-five percent of Abington residents approve of the cameras; 76 percent of Norristown residents approve; and 63 percent of Lower Merion residents approve.
Should the township ultimately adopt the program, there would be a 60-day warning period.