The two big issues this session of city council seem to be red light cameras and street cars. The street car proposal includes an initial line being built between University Hospital and downtown. The red light camera proposal seems to have the sole purpose of generating revenue for the city.
I think that the street car proposal is a great way to connect the city. Any increase in accessible public transportation will do a lot to help with traffic problems, as well as generate revenue for local business. It will encourage people to visit downtown and Clifton, and to check out what these two neighborhoods have to offer. I believe that the tax revenue that will be generated from the increase in business will outweigh the initial cost of creating a streetcar system.
City council is already projecting 1 million dollars in revenue for this fiscal year from the installation of red light cameras. This news comes on the heels of another story that says that red light cameras increase accidents. According to this study, many drivers are more inclined to slam on their breaks when they see a yellow light to avoid a ticket, thus causing drivers behind them to rear end their car.
I haven't heard city council even claiming that there is a need for red light cameras based on public safety concern. This is a cynical money grab, not a legitimate concern for the city. I will be watching closely who votes in favor of the cameras and who doesn't.
So I guess I am giving city council a mixed review so far. I am enthusiastic about the street cars, and I am disappointed about the red light cameras. From what I understand, Chris Finney and the NAACP have taken out petitions already to create a ballot referendum against the cameras.