Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

St. Petersburg won't get more red-light cameras until council gets more traffic data

ST. PETERSBURG — At the request of the City Council, Mayor Bill Foster agreed to delay the addition of more red-light cameras until council members can examine a year of traffic data.

The council made the request because city staffers had compiled only eight months of data between November and June before concluding that the cameras helped reduce crashes.

"I promise you that I don't come to work to say, 'How can I get sideways with City Council today,' " Foster told the group during a meeting Thursday.

Still, Foster stressed that the addition of nine more cameras to the already 22 in use will further reduce crashes. He promised to return to the council when staffers compiled traffic data through the end of the month.

"I hate red-light cameras," he said. "I hate to fine people. This is the only way we can modify people's behavior.

"People do stupid things when they drive."

The city installed the cameras at 10 intersections in October 2011 and started issuing tickets a month later. Through the end of June, the city has issued more than 27,000 citations.

After one year, the council had expected to get an update to determine if the cameras reduced traffic accidents.

Critics say the program is a revenue generator, not a safety measure.

The proposed expansion drew the ire of the City Council two weeks when Matt Florell, a local resident and well-schooled camera critic, informed the group that more cameras were in the works.

Several council members applauded Florell for monitoring the program and requesting data from the private operator of the cameras.

Council member Jeff Danner said the group shouldn't consider an expansion until delving into the data to see if crashes actually dropped.

"The fact that it's expanding offends me," Danner said. "The intent was to run the program for one year. Nobody surveyed this council."

Joe Kubicki, director of transportation and parking management, told the council that crashes jumped 8 percent citywide. However, he said. red-light running crashes fell 34 percent at the 10 intersections with cameras.

Council member Wengay Newton disputed much of the data because Kubicki did not detail how many tickets came from each camera or which intersection produced the most tickets.

"We can't even get the proper data," he said. "This is selective data. This is at best confusing."

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Comments
The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Nicko’s Fine Foods, classic diner and Seminole Heights icon, closes after six decades

Nicko’s Fine Foods, classic diner and Seminole Heights icon, closes after six decades

Nicko’s Fine Foods, known as the place Elvis Presley ate following a 1956 concert and Tampa’s last classic prefabricated diner, has shut down after more than 60 years in business.Owners Karen and Nicholas Liakos could not be reached for comment, but ...
Updated: 7 minutes ago

Tampa forum focuses on reforming Florida’s juvenile justice system

TAMPA — Changing the way Florida treats juvenile offenders was the focus of Monday night’s forum on criminal justice reform."We send more children to adult prison than any other state," said Raymer Maguire IV, manager of the ACLU’s Florida Campaign f...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

TAMPA — A 24-year-old aide at Buchanan Middle School was arrested Monday and charged with using Instagram to ask for sex and nude photos from female students at the school, deputies said.Between Sept. 1 and the time of his arrest, Quinton J. Bradford...
Updated: 1 hour ago
New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

LAKE MARY — Hundreds more juveniles who steal cars each year could be kept off the streets under a new tool approved by a Department of Juvenile Justice committee Tuesday, a move that could put a dent in a dangerous local car theft epidemic.Secretary...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

LARGO — Members of the Pinellas County agency that oversees contractor licensing cried foul in January when elected officials sought to fold the board into county government.They were mostly quiet this week as they received word on plans to make that...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

TAMPA — Police were searching Tuesday for a missing 15-year-old Plant City girl who disappeared from a Tampa girls school.Zoe Warren was last seen about 8 a.m. Monday at the PACE Center for Girls, 1933 E. Hillsborough Ave., where she attends school, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

LARGO — Daniel Richards, on trial for the murder of his 83-year-old mother, began his own criminal defense on Tuesday by asking a few questions to the pool of prospective jurors."If you were accused of killing your mother, would you want to represent...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

ST. PETERSBURG — Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three of the second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign fro...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Washington PostA former Facebook executive is making waves after he spoke out about his "tremendous guilt" over growing the social network, which he feels has eroded "the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other."Chamath Paliha...
Updated: 2 hours ago