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Red-light cameras to be installed in Palatka

4:51 PM, Oct 17, 2012   |    comments
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PALATKA, Fla. -- Sunny Hinkle is the office manager at Crill and Palm Veterinary Hospital.

"Palatka is growing," she pointed out the window, "and we have a lot more traffic right here."

She and her colleagues have a front-row seat to the crashes that happen at the intersection of Crill and Palm in Palatka.

"It's an extremely busy intersection," she nodded. "There have been a number of accidents over the years."

Crill, which is State Road 20, and Palm Avenue is one of the four intersections in Palatka where red-light cameras will be installed this week in order to catch people who run red lights.

"We have statistics that show most of our car crashes at intersections are the result of red light runners," said Sgt. Tobby Williams of the Palatka Police Department.

However, the Palatka Police Department could not provide those statistics to First Coast News.

Williams explained though that "there is no cost to taxpayers for the installation of the red light cameras."

American Traffic Solutions, or ATS, is the company installing the cameras. Charles Territo with ATS said the program is "violator funded," meaning the fines end up paying for the cameras.

The fine for running one of the red lights is $158.

Territo said half of each fine goes to the state. A portion of that amount goes to a trauma fund and to a project working toward a cure for paralysis.

Territo said the other half of each fine goes to the city of Palatka, and from that money Palatka pays ATS.

Territo said $4,750 is paid to ATS per camera each month, and the city will keep the balance of the money collected. However, he said if the camera does not generate enough money to pay for itself, then Palatka will pay ATS whatever is generated.

A police officer will review the video before issuing the tickets.  Williams expects this to become a full-time job for one of the officers.

The cameras in Palatka will be the same kind as the ones that were recently installed in Green Cove Springs.

"Green Cove Springs was having the same problem," Williams said. "A lot of commuters come through their town during the day, just like here. We have a huge increase in the numbers of people going through town during the day, and that's when we see most of our accidents."

"We're definitely in favor of cameras at this intersection," said Hinkle.

Hinkle feels it will be better and safer for customers getting in and out of the parking lot as well as for others on the road.

The other intersections where red light cameras will be installed are

-St. Johns Avenue at State Road 19

-U.S. 17/State Road 100 at 19th St.

-U.S. 17/Reid at 9th St.

First Coast News

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