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Red Light Cameras Still Under Discussion, Despite Hesitations

Lawana Mayfield was one of several city council members who expressed reservations about bringing back red light cameras.
Lisa Worf

Red light cameras are still on the table, although several Charlotte city council members expressed reservations last night about bringing back the program.

City Manager Marcus Jones has advised against reinstating red light cameras. He did the same last night, saying there may be more effective tools to make streets safer.

"This is a tool, but there are so many other things that are also happening now that you may want to invest more in in the future," said Jones. 

He pointed to the city’s plan known as Vision Zero that he says addresses safety more holistically. It calls for a variety of measures, including improving the design of streets and intersections, and adding sidewalks.

Several council members were hesitant about the prospect of bringing back red light cameras. 

"I’m with you on this, but I will tell you if we were to give any serious thought about implementing a program like that, I’d need to see a lot more data," Council member Ed Driggs told Jones.

Mayor Pro-Tem Julie Eiselt said she thinks council should consider the program, saying it’s worth it, if it prevents deaths.

Red light cameras were used in Charlotte from 1998 to 2006. The cameras were taken down after an appeals court ruled that 90 percent of the revenue generated from citations had to go to school systems.

The city estimates bringing them back would cost the city about $1 million a year. Mayor Vi Lyles asked Jones to come back to council with specific alternatives to improve safety. 

Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.