St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster made the right call last week by delaying the installation of more red-light cameras. The cameras have not collected the revenues the city anticipated, and doubts over their reliability and the potential safety risks continue to raise questions about their efficacy.
Foster wanted to add nine more cameras to the existing 22. But last year, the city collected $707,226 in traffic fines, about 17 percent less than projected. City records also show accidents at intersections where the cameras had been installed increased 44 percent between November 2011 and October. And a study conducted by city resident Matt Florell concluded 1,645 drivers might have been improperly ticketed because yellow lights switched too quickly to red at some intersections. City traffic engineers dispute Florell's findings, but they do concede problems might exist between some control boxes and traffic signals.
So Foster is right to take a timeout and delay the installation of any more red-light cameras until problems with the existing ones are corrected. Other communities facing similar issues with the cameras, such as Collier County, have gotten rid of them. St. Petersburg's experience suggests that might be a good idea.