Red light cameras have Phenix City residents hitting the brakes - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Red light cameras have Phenix City residents hitting the brakes

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PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -

The addition of new red light cameras in Phenix City has drivers proceeding with caution. Plans are in motion to add four new cameras in three new locations over the next few weeks.

Phenix City Police Chief Ray Smith says crashes at that location have decreased by 36 percent since getting the first camera set up at 13th and Broad Street last April. Smith says he hopes to do the same at trouble spots with the additional cameras and drivers are caught in the median with their opinions.

"If we're gonna get technology to do the police job, we don't need the police then," said Phenix City driver Louis Tisdale.

Fellow Phenix City driver Sammuel Snelling disagrees.

"Yes, they do need more," Snelling said. "And that will slow the traffic down. Make them start respecting the law."

Mixed reactions fill the roadways of Phenix City as the city has announced adding more red light cameras around the city.

"There'll be two cameras at the 13th Street location. That'll be an additional one. The other locations that we've identified as being problematic is at Crawford and 17th, at Opelika and Crawford Road, and at Stadium Drive and Summerville Road," explains Smith.

Each time a driver flies through a red light, the camera at one of these location will flash their license plate, and then mail a $100 fine. It's an event Smith says happens an average of 430 times a month at the 13th Street and Broad location.

"Every vehicle is monitored whether they violate the stop light or not," Smith said. "Those are in turn reviewed by officers. The officers make a determination if that violation did in fact occur. So, it's like having a police officer at that location 24/7."

But Tisdale disagrees with Smith, calling the technology a waste of money

"It's extra money going somewhere," Tisdale said. "And it's money that the state say they don't have."

It's a concern we took to the folks in charge.

"This fiscal year -- the first eight months of this fiscal year, we generated $157, 343 in revenue net to the city," said Finance Director Steve Smith.

All that money is going into the city's general fund.

Smith tells us this is after the city pays about 55 percent of the money from traffic light fines for equipment rental and to the state of Alabama. It's equipment city leaders say was long overdue.

"This is not new technology," Said smith. "It's not a new idea. It's just something that we finally come to the point that we think we need to leverage that technology."

The new red light cameras at Broad Street and Crawford Road and 17th Avenue are already in place. Crews were putting the one on Summerville Road and Stadium Drive up Thursday morning. Chief Smith says all of the new cameras are set to go live by the end of July.

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