Families for Safe Streets co-founder Latanya Byrd speaks at Speed Camera Bill Signing Ceremony

A new report shows just how effective the automated speed enforcement on Roosevelt Boulevard has been since July 1, 2020. The Philadelphia Parking Authority’s first report on Roosevelt Boulevard speed cameras shows a 93 percent decrease in speeding on the road, per the Inquirer:

Speeding violations on Roosevelt Boulevard plummeted 93% in the first nine months after automated enforcement cameras were installed on one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the state, the Philadelphia Parking Authority reported Tuesday.

Citations for drivers traveling 11 miles over the posted limit or higher fell from 224,206 as of July 1, one month after the cameras were activated, to 16,776 speeding violations issued in February, the last month for which complete figures were available, the PPA said.

One of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s and Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia’s Vision Zero campaigns in recent years has been the implementation of automated safety cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard. This technology has been proven to save lives by slowing drivers down and eliminates the need for interactions between police officers and citizens.

In 2019, after three years of advocacy in the state Capitol and in Philadelphia by the Bicycle Coalition and Families for Safe Streets, Mayor Jim Kenney signed a law championed by Councilmember Cherelle Parker (9th District) that legalized speed cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard, then the most dangerous road in the City of Philadelphia, and one of the most dangerous roads on the east coast.

The effort was led by Latanya Byrd, a Northeast Philadelphia resident whose niece and three nephews — Samara Banks, Saa’deem, Saa’sean, and Saa’yon — were killed by out of control drivers as they walked across Roosevelt Boulevard. Along with family members and safe streets advocates, Byrd traveled to Harrisburg, met with state representatives and senators, and wrote letters, making sure this bill making speed cameras legal at the state level was signed into law. The enabling legislation was then enthusiastically championed by Councilmember Cherelle Parker, who understood the importance of making streets safer in her district.

Latanya has continued working with Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia, an organization of families dedicated to making Philadelphia safer for everyone.

Her work paid off, and countless lives have been, and will continue to be, changed because of her efforts. While we do not recommend anyone ride a bicycle on Roosevelt Boulevard, implementing speed cameras are part of a larger strategy to make Philadelphia safer.

Of course, speed cameras are not a panacea. The city’s long term plans for Roosevelt Boulevard can be viewed at the Roosevelt Boulevard: Route for Change website.

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