PPA says speed cameras working on Roosevelt Boulevard

Speed cameras are effective in slowing down the boulevard.

Cars visible driving north on Roosevelt Boulevard.

Traffic heads north on Roosevelt Boulevard near East Front Street. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia’s experiment with cameras to ticket fast drivers is meeting the city’s goals.

The five-year pilot program has cut speeding considerably, says Philadelphia Parking Authority head Scott Petri, whose agency runs the program with cameras in 8 intersections over about 10 miles of Roosevelt Boulevard.

“There is a 92% reduction in a very short time, I’m extremely impressed with the results. I’m happy. The goal is public safety and it seems like the reductions are quick and at every speed.”

Petri says they are hoping to install a few more cameras to help slow down drivers in places where they are prone to accelerate and there isn’t a stoplight.

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“We have not come to a number yet, we have to sit down with the mayor’s office and PennDOT. I’m thinking of one new place in each direction: One would be southbound, one would be northbound where we see problems.”

Petri says they have seen some high-speed driving, with cars being clocked at over 100-miles-per-hour in some parts of the boulevard.

“From 4 p.m. until about two in the morning is when we are seeing the 100-mile-per-hour rates, and you saw that up and down. The highest was in the northeast, but it wasn’t that much lower when you get down towards the city line.”

During the first month of the warning period in June 2020, the Authority mailed 224,206 violation warning notices to speeding motorists. As the program continued, driving behaviors changed and vehicles began to slow down, resulting in a 93% decrease.

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In August 2020, the first month of violations with fines, violations decreased to 84,608. Overall,  violations issued decreased from 224,206 (or 7,474 per day) during June 2020 to 38,660 (or 1,289 per day) in November of 2020, the most recent month of completely processed data.

Petri says he would like to run a public service campaign on both radio and social media to make people more aware that the cameras are in place, and to serve as a deterrent for speeding. The roadway has been called one of the most dangerous in the region and has been the target of safety enhancements designed to help curb accidents and deaths from drivers striking pedestrians.

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