Jul 29, 2014
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City Leaders Put Brakes on Red Light Camera Plan

Clearwater will not move forward with a proposal to add red light cameras at two intersections.

City Leaders Put Brakes on Red Light Camera Plan

Clearwater will not move forward with a proposal to add red light cameras at two intersections.

With questions surrounding the legality of the tickets issued by red light camera operators, and other controversies over the effectiveness of the devices, city leaders decided to delay a proposal to install units at two intersections in the city Monday.

The decision becomes final at the city council meeting Thursday.

The proposal called for eight cameras at intersections along Belcher Road, at Sunset Point Road and at Gulf to Bay Boulevard.

Paul Bertels, the city’s director of traffic, said that while they found the company they would like to install and run the cameras, because of the controversies, they decided it would not be an effective traffic enforcement tool.

“We feel that there’s a lot of agencies right now having problems,” Bertels said.

The city's original Dec. 15, 2010 deadline was put on hold pending the legislative outcome of a bill in the state Senate that would repeal a law allowing the use of red light cameras. During a lengthy legislative session, the measure failed in the Senate.

However, other legal issues for the cameras remain.

The cameras are in use in New Port Richey and Gulfport. St. Pete Beach halted efforts to install the devices there.

Council member Paul Gibson never supported the idea of the cameras.

“It doesn’t make any sense to wade in,” Gibson said. “I didn’t support it before. I don’t support now.”

Council member John Doran, who has supported the installation of the cameras in the past, supported delaying the plan, as well. However, Doran asked Bertels about changing the time of the yellow lights at intersections throughout the city. Bertels said the yellow lights are already as long as they can be under state law.

Clearwater officials moved forward with the camera plan to find out how much it would cost to install and run red light cameras in the city. Bidding ended in June.

The city council  from vendors to implement red light cameras in a 3-2 vote in March. Council members Paul Gibson and vice Mayor George Cretekos voted against the measure.

On Monday, every council member supported delaying the installation of red light cameras.

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