Following the lead of other local governments, a Miami Beach commissioner wants to end the city’s red light camera program that slaps drivers with a $158 ticket if they’re photographed running a light.
Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez announced her intention to propose ending the city’s month-to-month contract with Xerox State and Local Solutions in an email to residents Sunday, saying the $158 fines are an undue burden for the city’s working class and senior residents.
The Beach commission has discussed the issue a few times in the past couple of years and decided to maintain the cameras. Rosen Gonzalez, a candidate for the Congressional seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, has supported ending the contract twice in the past but hasn’t convinced the majority of the commission to join her.
Now with a new mayor and two new commissioners, she believes she might have the votes.
“I am doing this because I believe that people make mistakes. Running a red light is a mistake, and the $158 fee cripples the working class and people living on fixed income,” she said. “I have senior citizens who cry to me about this, and I am hoping that the third time is the charm and we finally get rid of red light cameras on Miami Beach.”
Rosen Gonzalez said she will propose ending the contract at the Jan. 17 commission meeting. Miami Beach has a month-to-month agreement with Xerox State and Local Solutions to manage the city’s cameras.
Miami commissioners voted to end that city’s program in December, giving red light camera enforcement company American Traffic Solutions 60 days to wind down its operation, which manages dozens of cameras in Miami. That decision was criticized by traffic safety advocates and the police union.
Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates has pointed to crash data to show that collisions have decreased at nearly all intersections with the cameras.
On the other hand, a study commissioned by the Chicago Tribune showed that while the number of t-bone collisions decreased modestly, the number of rear-end crashes increased.
Another Miami-Dade city recently bolstered its red light camera program. The city of Doral installed more cameras last summer as elected officials pointed to numbers showing the vast majority of violators did not receive a second violation.