St. Petersburg revamps school-zone crossings
St. Petersburg's 70 school-zone crossings are getting a make over to comply with state law after the City Council voiced displeasure with the perception that the city is creating speed traps in the zones.
Mayor Rick Kriseman said he has directed staff to comply with all state rules and regulations. Interim Public Works Administrator Tom Gibson said the work should be completed by November.
The City Council took up the issue after a WTSP Channel 10 report that found St. Petersburg had issued more speeding tickets in school zones that the rest of Pinellas, Hillsborough and Polk counties combined.
Police have issued an average of about 1,700 tickets a year. So far this year, about 1,100 drivers have been ticketed, said assistant police chief Luke Williams.
Kriseman said the city has acted in the interest of children's safety. Police and city officials said that there was no targeting of motorists.
But activist Matt Florell, who successfully campaigned for the city to end its controversial red-light ticket program last year, said the city has signs that are too small, not high enough and obscured.
Council member Amy Foster said like the red-light issue, the school-zone tickets raise questions of public trust in city government.
"The way we put the question to rest is to follow state guidelines,' she said.
Kriseman said the even that, though the city has leeway in how it implements state guidelines, he has directed staff to follow the regulations.