Candid camera

Officials expect a 60-day grace period to start in five to six weeks; then, Boulevard speeders will get fined up to $150.

Slow down: Philadelphia Parking Authority executive director Scott Petri speaks Monday about the installation of speed cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard. PPA officials expect the cameras to be fully operational in five to six weeks, at which point a 60-day grace period will begin. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Here they come.

Crews have begun the process of installing 32 speed cameras along Roosevelt Boulevard from North Philadelphia to the Bucks County line.

Philadelphia Parking Authority officials expect the cameras to be fully operational in five to six weeks, at which point a 60-day grace period will begin. Speeders will be given warnings in the mail. After that, violators will be on the hook for up to $150.

Officials had said the cameras would be up and running by the end of 2019, but PPA Executive Director Scott Petri said the project was held up by regulatory issues. 

Mayor Jim Kenney, Petri and other city representatives held a news conference Monday in the parking lot of the Acme Market at 8200 Roosevelt Blvd. to mark the start of installation and announce more details about the program. 

The cameras will be placed at six spots along the Boulevard in Northeast Philly: Devereaux Avenue, Harbison Avenue, Strahle Street, Grant Avenue, Red Lion Road (near Whitten Street) and Southampton Road (near Hornig Road).

In addition, the system will be installed at Banks Way and F Street.

All 12 lanes will be covered in areas with the cameras, Petri said. Signs will be prominently displayed alerting motorists of the automated speed enforcement system. 

It’s official: Mayor Jim Kenney and other city representatives held a news conference Monday in the parking lot of the Acme Market at 8200 Roosevelt Blvd. to mark the start of installation of speed cameras. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Following the grace period, drivers caught going 11 to 19 mph over the speed limit will get a $100 fine in the mail. Speeders going 20 to 29 mph over the limit will receive a $125 ticket, and anyone going 30 mph or more past the limit will get a $150 fine. 

Drivers may be issued up to three tickets within a 30-minute period. Violators will not receive points on their driving record. 

The speed limit on the Boulevard fluctuates from 40 to 45 mph.

Officials have repeatedly said the initiative is not to collect fines, but to create a safer Boulevard.

“We hope that there’s never a citation issued that someone has to pay,” said former state Rep. John Taylor, who helped get the cameras legalized in Harrisburg. “We just want them to slow down.”

Taylor, who lives in Northwood, said he frequently sees drivers exceeding 65 or 70 mph, all while senior citizens, children and others are trying to cross.

Since the start of 2019, there have been eight fatal crashes on Roosevelt Boulevard, according to a city database. Kenney said adding speed cameras to the Boulevard is a big step toward reaching his administration’s goal of eliminating traffic deaths in the city by 2030.

“Today we are one step closer to calming speeds on one of the most dangerous roads in our city,” the mayor said.

Petri touted the success of red-light cameras, which were first installed on the Boulevard in 2005. Since then, there has been a 58-percent decrease in drivers running red lights, he said. He believes automated speed enforcement will have a similar effect.

PPA will administer the program.

This past summer, Kenney signed a bill that enabled the cameras after it was approved by City Council. Gov. Tom Wolf approved legislation in October 2018 paving the way for automated speed enforcement on the Boulevard and in work zones. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com.