Up & Coming Weekly

August 22, 2017

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 12 of 32

12 UCW AUGUST 23 - 29, 2017 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Red-light cameras in Fayetteville generate a lot of money but little else. at's what before-and-after compar- ative data indicates. American Traffic Solutions is under contract with the city of Fayetteville to enforce red-light cameras at more than 20 busy inter- sections. Nationally, from 2011-15, an average of 719 people died each year in red-light-running crashes, accord- ing to ATS. Fayetteville installed the initial 10 red-light traffic cameras in July 2015. ere have been no fatal accidents at regulated intersections in those two years. e city studied motor vehicle crashes at those red-light enforced intersections the year before the cam- eras were installed and the year after. Auto accidents were not reduced dur- ing those two years. Traffic engineer Lee Jernigan said the cameras caught about 36,000 violators. At $100 each, that comes to $3.6 million if everyone paid their citations, but they didn't. About two-thirds of the citations are paid, Jernigan said. "ere has been no positive deter- rence in traffic collisions at those intersections where a red-light camera exists," Mayor Nat Robertson said. "If we continue to see no positive move- ment in that data, we should consider ending our contract with the vendor," Robertson added. "Ninety-three percent of red-light runners have not been repeat violators, which is cer- tainly one way of measuring success," Jernigan said. Cumberland County Schools will lose a lot of money if the program is discontinued. "Red-light camera funding provides approximately $800,000 a year to the district's bud- get," said Associate School Superin- tendent Clyde Locklear. "e district would be forced to make very difficult budget decisions, which would impact the quality of educational services of- fered in Cumberland County, if these funds were lost," he said. e North Carolina Constitution provides that traffic fines be bud- geted in the local school district's current expense fund. "Red-light camera funds support maintenance and improvement projects in the district including building, electrical and HVAC projects," Locklear said. "Eighteen thousand tickets are being issued each year," Jernigan said. Sixty- five dollars from each $100 citation goes to Cumberland County Schools. e remaining $35 goes to American Traffic Solutions, which earns about $630,000 annually. Red-light violation citations are civil summonses. e website Redlight- robber.com claims, "You do not have to pay any red-light camera ticket in North Carolina." State Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, is lead counsel for the firm. Redlightrobber.com says the city cannot add insurance points to your driver's license. It cannot prevent you from renewing your driver's license. e city cannot prevent you from renewing your car registration and enforce the tickets. City Council members would likely be more inclined not to discontinue the red-light camera program if the school board would be willing to con- sider Council's suggestions for spend- ing the money. "Some members had asked members of the school board to earmark the red-light money for public neighborhood enhancements such as sidewalks, where needed, to keep our school children safe among other things," Mayor Robertson said. "I had thought we were on the same wavelength." NEWS Red-Light Cameras Benefit Schools, but not Traffic Safety by JEFF THOMPSON JEFF THOMPSON, Senior News Reporter. COMMENTS? news@ upandcomingweekly.com. (910) 484-6200. Cumberland County Schools will lose a lot of money if the program is discontinued. Celebrate all your LIFE moments at FAYETTEVILLE'S FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT 48 CRAFT BEERS, DAILY DRINK SPECIALS DJ BINGO Every Thursday at 7:00PM QUALITY FOOD YOU EXPECT, SERVICE YOU DESERVE ALL FRESH NATURAL INGREDIENTS OFF THE BONE SMOKED RIBS, TENDER BEEF BRISKET, PULLED PORK AND OUR SIGNATURE TOMATO PIE MONDAYS 4PM - 10PM | TUES - THURS 11AM - 10PM FRI - SAT 11AM - 12AM | SUNDAY NOON - 9PM WWW.BLACKSTONESMOKEHOUSE.COM 2801 RAEFORD RD • 910.491.7029 SPECIALIZING IN: (ACROSS FROM CHICK-FIL-A) LOCALLY OWNED & OPERATED • ALL ABC PERMITS

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