First red-light camera is operational at Broadway and Providence

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
The city’s first red-light cameras, at Providence Road and Broadway, are up and running, though violators will not be ticketed until the end of a 30-day warning period. A second set of cameras should be installed on the corner of Stadium Boulevard and Worley Street sometime next week.

COLUMBIA — After a month's delay, Columbia's first red-light camera is now operating at the intersection of Broadway and Providence Road.

The city began a 30-day warning period Tuesday, during which drivers who run red lights will receive warnings instead of citations.

A second red-light camera at the intersection of Stadium Boulevard and Worley Street should be active by next week. The two cameras have the same 30-day warning period even though the second one is not operational yet, said Toni Messina, the city's public communications director.

Signs will be posted within 300 feet of the intersections to warn drivers of the cameras.

The cameras are activated once a vehicle crosses the plane of an intersection during a red light, Messina said. The camera takes four photos: Two of the vehicle, one of the license plate and one of the driver's face. Photos will be examined by the police to determine if a violation has occurred.

Illegal right turns at the Broadway and Providence Road intersection won't be captured by the red-light camera.

Red-light violators will receive a fine of $120 with $41 going to Gatso USA, the company that owns and operates the cameras. During Monday's meeting, the City Council discussed the possibility of raising the fine to deter drivers from running red lights but decided to determine the impact of the program before reevaluating the fine.

"We'll certainly be interested to see how the public responds to the cameras and see if they're making a difference," Messina said.

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