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Red Light Cameras Get the 'Green Light' in Norristown

Council voted to approve an ordinance Monday night authorizing the use of "automated red light enforcement systems."

Council voted 6-1 to adopt Ordinance 13-02 authorizing the use of automated red light enforcement systems, or red light cameras, in Norristown at its Monday, Jan. 7 meeting.

The state legislature passed a bill in June giving certain Montgomery County municipalities the option to adopt the practice and council discussed the issue at a Dec. 18 meeting where it decided to move forward with the project on the recommendation of the Public Safety Committee and the Norristown Police Department.

Intersections suggested for possible red light camera deployment include Markley and Main streets, West Main Street and Forrest Avenue and West Main Street and Haws Avenue. The final determination would be made by council with recommendations made by the police department. There would reportedly be no cost to the municipality to install the cameras.

Councilman Dwayne Royster, who voted against the ordinance on Monday night, expressed his reservations about red light cameras at the Dec. 18 council meeting where he admitted that his oppositions stemmed from an incident where he was issued a ticket for going through a red light in Philadelphia during a funeral procession.

"I tried to appeal," said Royster. "And the appeals process didn't allow for that to enter into the decision."

Royster expressed concern that the cameras don't allow for such exceptions.

"There are those moments when exceptions need to be made," he said. "How are we going to allow for that considering our justice system?"

Chief Bono assured Royster that his Philadelphia experience would not necessarily be recreated here.

"We actually tell [the company that manages the cameras] what we want to enforce," said Chief Bono. If we don't want information on funerals or police cars going through red lights or people making right hand turns on red, that's solely up to us."

Chief Bono noted that the company would send the data to the Norristown Police Department and an officer assigned to that duty would make the final determination about who to cite for the offense.

Chief Bono noted that the cameras would not photograph the vehicle from the front, only the from the rear as dictated by Pennsylvania law. The occupants of the vehicle would not be identified from the pictures.

Councilwoman Dr. Mary DeSouza expressed her support for the cameras as a way to make certain accident-prone intersections safer.

"I think people can remember just in the recent past the accidents that have happened at Main and Markley, even hitting our own fire vehicles" said DeSouza. "People disregard the speed coming off the Dannehower Bridge and that there's a light at the end of that. If a few people getting tickets for doing an unlawful thing can slow people down... and prevent more accidents, I'm all for it."

Royster, unswayed by the argument, still voted against adopting the ordinance.

"I voted against the red light cameras because I believe that this is totalitarianism and that 'Big Brother' is looking out over us," said Royster. "And I don't have an appreciation for it."

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jennifer January 08, 2013 at 11:47 AM
There needs to be one on swede and oak sts
Lindsay M. January 08, 2013 at 02:02 PM
Markley and Main is pretty bad. 4-5 cars go through once it turns red. Also, The light on Main when traveling East is very hard to see once you are into the intersection (if you are making a left). How is only 1 light allowed there? Doesn't there need to be a minimum of 2?
Tim Armstrong is a DICK January 08, 2013 at 03:23 PM
these red light cameras are a total waste of money. they were a huge disaster in LA: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/27/los-angeles-red-light-cameras_n_911577.html I know city council is trying to do good, but they keep making unnessessary mistakes (parking kiosk fiasco, sandy street debacle etc...)
PaDriverWatch January 08, 2013 at 03:47 PM
We've all seen it...the steady stream of red-light turns across oncoming traffic, all for the sake of beating the light. Most accidents take place at intersections (the math is simple, but the common sense is often lacking.) The "Big Brother" argument does fly when the public expects that same Big Brother to be there with Police, Fire and EMS (risking their safety) for people trying to "beat the light." Traffic light cameras are proactive. If it saves 1 life then its worth it...the life saved may belong to one of YOUR loved-ones.
Spud January 08, 2013 at 04:24 PM
So lets see...the cameras have the potential to catch criminals fleeing the scene of a crime, drive bys, abductions etc. not to mention your basic terrible driver. They cost the town $0, so any money made off of them will be pure profit that can be used to fix our streets, hire more cops... I fail to see the downside. In my opinion, if you do, you probably run red lights.
jxjipper January 08, 2013 at 04:34 PM
The good news is that it will not only catch our criminals but also the big shot judges and lawyers who speed their way in and out of town to minimize the amount of time they spend in the rectum of montgomery county.
OMG January 08, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Big waste of the taxpayers money because they already have camera's at the lights not to supposedly catch whatever a camera should catch and if they were working it should have captured many criminal activities. It just a show and tell that won't work when its time to catch something wrong in the act.
diggity January 08, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Way go council that's just what norristown needs!!! U guys r the best. Smh. All the shit that wrong in this town an that's what use come up with???
Jennifer January 08, 2013 at 06:58 PM
I have no choice but to run the light at Forest and Main St. there is no left turn arrow that allows me to turn legally. How about fixing your lights before you start putting up cameras
RCG January 08, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Just another example of Norristown proving that they can be just as good as Philadelphia. If Philadelphia has it we got to have it in Norristown. Something I have always wondered about, in Philadelphia when one pays to park they can move to another spot and their payment moves with them. How is it that in Norristown if you find out you needed to be a block away you have to go and pay new parking and your money paid for the first spot is gone?
Brian Ceccarelli January 08, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Jennifer is the only person that understands. The reason why people run red lights is not because 100,000 people are bad drivers, but because 5 traffic engineers are incompetent. The engineering solution is to add a protected left turn lane, add time to the green phase, and increase the yellow light durations. Remove the gauntlet and drivers won't behave as though they are going through a gauntlet. http://redlightrobber.com
Tim Armstrong is a DICK January 08, 2013 at 08:58 PM
The one "good" thing is it doesn't cost the taxpayers money (except when they get a ticket), my only concern is this is a profit driven thing and the main motivator seems to be generating revenue rather than promoting public safety. I'm open minded, but I just know it totally failed in Los Angeles. hopefully Norristown has better luck with it. we don't need any more bad luck...
Ann Knipfer January 08, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Hey, could we get a couple of drones flying around too? Maybe we could catch the thugs in this town who are using guns to kill people or rob places. Since their families and friends don't talk, we need constant police protection. Oh, and get the litterbugs. We could totally clean up this town. And hookers and drug traffic. Don't forget them. Huh. Ya, we are no longer free in America so we might as well go all the way...
jxjipper January 09, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Great point Ann. I suggest a pair of hooker/drug cams 1) around the hotel on W.Main and the other a block further up at Noble half way between the Laundromat and Rahills.
Eriq January 09, 2013 at 05:21 AM
maybe who ever is reviewing the lights will see how police turn their lighs on just o go thru the lights,,,
Bob Guzzardi January 09, 2013 at 12:12 PM
Red Light Cameras are huge money makers for the municipality.
Jonathan Gahman January 09, 2013 at 11:31 PM
I am expecting my property taxes to go down with all the revenue the borough will be pulling in from these cameras....
Alma January 11, 2013 at 03:00 AM
I'm glad for these cameras. I was almost T-boned at that Markley/Main light last weekend from some speeder coming from K of P.
Jeff Cohn February 22, 2013 at 01:36 AM
Please let us know when they announce the camera locations. Share them on our map at http://photoenforced.com
Tim Armstrong is a DICK February 24, 2013 at 01:09 AM
...but those tickets will be "taken care of"
Linux Guy April 23, 2013 at 09:04 PM
Please note that with proper engineering, there is no need for red-light cameras. If you set an 85th percentile free-flowing speed limit, extend the yellow duration, have a decent-length all-red interval, and use sensors to keep an all-red, the problems go away. Also, note that the National Motorists Association has a ticket challenge. If a municipality works with the NMA and the problems fail to cease, the municipality will be awarded $10,000 for improvements. Why is none of this being mentioned or investigated? It seems like for some reason it was decided these cameras would go in no matter what. Why?

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