Red light traffic fines to fund safety improvement projects

Red light runners are going to do Philadelphia and 36 other municipalities across Pennsylvania a public service in the coming months as their traffic fines will pay for traffic safety improvements in those localities.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on Oct. 23 announced the imminent distribution of nearly $6.6 million in funding for 41 safety projects across the state with proceeds from the Automated Red Light Enforcement program, commonly known as red light cameras. Under state law, 28 intersections in Philadelphia — most notably along Roosevelt Boulevard — supply the grant funding. Vehicles that violate red lights at those intersections are photographed automatically, and the registered owners fined $100 for each violation.

State law also allows other selected municipalities to implement similar programs, but Philadelphia remains the program’s largest revenue source by far. The city will receive $3.5 million in the latest distribution, which will pay for four specific projects.

One-million dollars will be allocated to improve intersections throughout the city by adding curb extensions that enhance pedestrian visibility to motorists and reduce potential vehicle/pedestrian conflicts. Another $1 million will be used to construct up to three roundabouts to improve safety and traffic flow. In addition, $1 million will be used to continue installing traffic-calming devices such as speed humps and signage. Finally, $500,000 will be allocated toward a fiber-optic network that will monitor and help manage traffic signal timing throughout the city.

Under the ARLE law, municipalities must apply for funding for specific projects. The state received about 226 applications totaling $36.6 million in requested funds this year. An eight-member committee awards funding based on each project’s benefits, effectiveness, cost, local impact, regional impact and cost sharing.

Since 2010, the ARLE program has distributed $39.8 million to fund 275 safety projects across Pennsylvania. ••