Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cameras and Street Cars

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.


Mark said...

I haven't read the study about the cameras making people slam on their brakes but I can believe it. I've seen many younger drivers stop for yellow lights and almost get rear-ended by people behind them who were planning on going through. It might help if the cameras had a time-readout that showed how long the light was red. (A lot of cameras can do this automatically so it wouldn't cost taxpayers anything.)

Of course, that wouldn't generate as much money in tickets.

Jamie Sue said...

What alternative revenue generating program would you prefer?

Nathan Wissman said...

I would like to see an end to corperate welfare as a way of saving the city budget. Why does the city give companies like Convergys 10 million dollars to create 7 jobs, but says it can't afford a few thousand dollars to keep public pools open from late August until Labor Day?

I think that smart investment that encourages buisness on a level playing field is a great revenue creater. The street car system is great, it brings people downtown just to see it and use it. It creates a buzz, and benefits everyone downtown who lives, works, and does buisness.

Jamie Sue said...

I agree with your statement about corporate welfare. As opposed to enticing businesses to come to Cincinnati through tax breaks an effort should be made to make Cincinnati a better enviroment for businesses. Things like street cars provide cheap reliable access to transportation for people who would otherwise shun working downtown because of inflated parking costs. Cracking down on blighted buildings makes the enviromment looks more professional... Etc. Etc..