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(PHILADELPHIA) – The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) released its first annual report today on the “Automated Speed Enforcement Pilot Program – Roosevelt Boulevard,” reporting a dramatic 93% reduction in clocked speeding on the Boulevard – once referred to as one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the nation.

As a result of legislative action in 2018 authorizing the use of automated speed enforcement cameras to deter speeding on Roosevelt Boulevard, the PPA installed cameras at eight locations to improve safety and save lives by reducing speeding in conjunction with Mayor Kenney’s Vision Zero initiative. Cameras were activated on June 1, 2020, with fines imposed beginning August 1st for any vehicle electronically clocked traveling at a speed in excess of 11 miles per hour over the speed limit.

According to PPA Executive Director Scott Petri, “the decision to place speed cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard was the result of a number of high speed-related accidents over the years, many involving serious injury and the tragic loss of life.”

After a temporary Covid-19 pandemic-related delay, a 60 day warning period began on  June 1, 2020, which resulted in 224,206 violations recorded for that initial 30 day period. In August, the first month after the warning period ended, 84,608 violations were recorded – a reduction of 139,598 (63%) violations. Subsequently, six months later there were 16,776 speeding violations issued for the most recent month of February 2021 – reflecting a dramatic 93% reduction in recorded speeding violations.

There were 75 violations issued during the initial 60 warming period for vehicles traveling in excess of 100 mph.  That number was dramatically reduced over the following seven months, with 7 violations issued for vehicles recorded traveling in excess of 100 mph for the month of  February 2021.

Violators are subject to a fine up to $150 — depending on the speed of the vehicle at the time of the violation, and receive a violation and fine notice to the registered address of the vehicle. No points are added to an individual’s driving record. “The fine is aimed at deterring driving at excessive speeds that could lead to fatal accidents and injuries,” Petri said.

The automated speed camera enforcement program generated $13 million between June 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021 that went to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

“Since 2005, the PPA has been successful in substantially reducing red light running at key intersections on the Boulevard. Our goal has always been to improve safety and save lives. The additional use of speed cameras will enhance our effort to improve safety along what was once considered one of the most dangerous highways in the country,” Petri said.

Roosevelt Boulevard currently has nine intersections that are monitored by red light cameras. As a result, red light running has dramatically decreased on the Boulevard by 58% since 2005.  When the first red light cameras were activated at Grant Avenue and the Boulevard in 2005, 3,304 red light running violations were recorded on average each month during the first four months. At this same intersection during the first three pre-pandemic months of 2020 (January, February, March), an average of 263 red light camera violations occurred each of those months for a staggering 92% reduction in red light running at this intersection over a sixteen year period.

“We believe red light cameras save lives — and we believe automated speed enforcement cameras along Roosevelt Boulevard will save more lives,” Petri said.

“Traffic deaths in Philadelphia are preventable and never acceptable,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.  Adding “automated speed cameras on the Boulevard is one of the most effective steps that we can take to eliminate traffic deaths. With the installation of these cameras, we continue to make progress on our Vision Zero efforts to eliminate traffic fatalities in Philadelphia by 2030.”

With an estimated 140 communities in 14 other states already utilizing automated speed enforcement cameras, their effectiveness has been clearly demonstrated. For example, between 2014 and 2017, New York City saw reduced speeding at camera locations by 63% while reducing fatal crashes by 55%.

There are currently thirty-two (32) automated speed enforcement cameras at eight (8) different locations on Roosevelt Boulevard. Posted signage has been installed to indicate intersections where speed cameras are activated. The automated speed enforcement camera locations are;

  1. Roosevelt Boulevard and Banks Way
  2. Roosevelt Boulevard and F Street
  3. Roosevelt Boulevard and Deveraux Street
  4. Roosevelt Boulevard and Harbison Avenue
  5. Roosevelt Boulevard and Strahle Street
  6. Roosevelt Boulevard and Grant Avenue
  7. Roosevelt Boulevard and Red Lion Road (near Whitten Street)
  8. Roosevelt Boulevard and Southampton Road ( near Horning Road)

The report also includes a number of recommendations to enhance the pilot program to further reduce the number of violations and excessive speed rates.  Specifically, the presence of law enforcement between 8:00pm and 4:00am along the Boulevard could potentially address excessive speeding during a critical period.

Further, installation of additional cameras between long stretches without any traffic control devices should be considered.  A strategic data review would influence the placement of additional cameras. Additional cameras in areas north and south of current locations that have not yet demonstrated consistent reductions in violations is recommended.

The third recommendation is a targeted public education and awareness campaign designed to alert drivers to the deadly risks and dangers of excessive speeding.  From June 2020 to February 2021, 89.4% of violations were issued to in-state drivers; 65.6% of which were issued to drivers with vehicles registered in Philadelphia, and at least 8.1% to drivers with vehicles registered in Bucks County. Public Service Announcements (PSAs) targeting drivers in southeastern Pennsylvania, particularly in Bucks and Philadelphia counties, would build greater awareness of the dangers of excessive speed.

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