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St. Pete leaders to decide fate of red-light cameras

St. Pete leaders to decide fate of red-light cameras

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (TBO.com) - The City Council is set to vote yet again on the future of the controversial red-light camera program after officials Thursday admitted that yellow light times were too short at two more intersections policed by cameras.

Stoplight timings at the two intersections ignored that the roads are angled slightly downhill, meaning drivers should be given more time to stop or to get through the intersections. The lights were off by no more than two-tenths of a second, but city data shows that was enough for hundreds of motorists to misjudge the stoplight and end up with a $158 citation.

City council member Charlie Gerdes said the city should own up and reimburse drivers.

“We made a mistake; the city made a mistake,” Gerdes said.

But Mayor Rick Kriseman said the city will not offer refunds. The stoplight timings were approved by the Florida Department of Transportation, he said. He also pointed out that most of the revenue from fines has already been remitted to the state, making it unlikely the city could get the money back.

“Our attorneys feel comfortable, as do I, from a risk standpoint,” Kriseman said. “We were following state procedures and acting with state approval.”

Photo Credit TBO.com

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