St. Petersburg getting rid of red light cameras

Controversial red light cameras will soon be a thing of the past in one bay area city.

St. Petersburg city council voted today to get rid of the cameras by Sept. 30 at the latest. But some disagreed with the decision.

"People are safer with the red light safety cameras and I truly feel that lives have been saved along the way," Melissa Wandall said 

Wandall is an advocate for red light cameras. She isn't just fighting to keep red light cameras operational, she's fighting to keep her promise.

"I promised my husband the night of the crash that I would make a reason for what had happened and that I would make sure his life went on," Wandall said.

Wandall said her husband was killed in 2003 when the car he was riding in was hit by a red light runner.

"I think they're making a mistake if they just get rid of them," she said.

Some St. Petersburg city council members say the red light cameras have led to a change in behavior by drivers, leading to fewer tickets being issued at intersections with the cameras.

But some council members do not think getting rid of them is the way to reward the improvement.

"You're asking us to make an illegal act, and we all agree that it is illegal to run a red light. So you're asking us to let you go ahead and get away with an illegal act," Chairman Bill Dudley said.

But the cameras cost money to operate and the revenue stream is drying up. 

Wandall says there's another solution.

"If they're not making any money at those intersections where people are complying, then you can take the cameras and move them to another intersection," said Wandall.

Mayor Rick Kriseman said if taking the cameras down results in more accidents, they will revisit the technology again.

"We've seen a change in behaviors and that's a good thing," Kriseman said.

The city could get rid of the cameras before the end of September if it is no longer breaking even on the money generated by having them operational.

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