Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Port Richey hires new traffic spy

PORT RICHEY — The city has hired a new set of eyes to watch for red-light runners at its busiest intersections.

The City Council agreed last week to let Jacksonville-based Traffipax install its own camera at U.S. 19 and Ridge Road, pointing toward the three southbound lanes of the highway. It would replace a camera at the same spot by American Traffic Solutions, which backed out of its contract with the city in August.

Traffipax also plans to install a camera overseeing the three northbound lanes at that intersection.

The details of the Traffipax contract, including how the traffic ticket revenue will be divided and how soon the cameras will go up, will be ironed out by City Attorney Michael Brannigan in the coming weeks, said police Chief David Brown. The contract may also include installing cameras at U.S. 19 and Grand Boulevard, and at Leo Kidd Avenue and Ridge Road, Brown said.

"We'd like more intersections to be monitored, because it helps diminish crashes and save lives," Brown said. "Is there a monetary incentive for the city? Yes. But we expect you to be a good driver and abide by state law."

On May 2, the city began issuing tickets to red-light runners caught on the American Traffic Solution camera at U.S. 19 and Ridge Road. Port Richey became the first in Pasco and third in the state — behind Apopka and Gulf Breeze — to use the cameras.

The camera takes two pictures of the vehicle and its license plate — one right before the vehicle is at the white line, and another as it crosses the white line and enters the intersection.

Of the $125 citation, $85 goes to the city's general fund, and $40 to ATS.

Since May 2, Port Richey has issued about 1,900 citations, netting $109,565 for the city's general fund, according to the Police Department.

But the program hit a speed bump in August, when ATS backed out of its five-year contract with the city.

The company said then it was "unable to obtain permits to install additional red light cameras on Florida Department of Transportation and other rights of way, which prevented further expansion of the program."

Officials at ATS agreed to keep their camera in place until another company was hired.

Josh Weiss, spokesman for ATS, said his company rebid on the project after resolving its issues regarding installing additional cameras, although he declined to elaborate on what those issues had been.

The council voted unanimously last week to switch to Traffipax instead of keeping ATS.

Gulf Breeze, which uses Traffipax, says the system has operated smoothly since the city began using it in March 2006.

Since then, 4,000 citations have been issued at $100 each. The city keeps about half of that revenue, said Gulf Breeze police Chief Peter Paulding.

Two cameras on U.S. 98 and Daniel Drive track about 60,000 cars heading eastbound and westbound every day, Paulding said.

"Most crashes in the city happen on that roadway," he said.

Back in Port Richey, Mayor Richard Rober says the program has brought greater caution and safety to a major intersection in the city.

"I won't say it's a cure-all," Rober said, "but it definitely helps."

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

Port Richey hires new traffic spy 12/28/08 [Last modified: Friday, January 2, 2009 1:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.