Red light cameras make an appearance near campus
Some students may be seeing more red and blue than black and gold lately. Students have sounded off on social media about ‘speed traps’ near campus on roads where they believe officers pull drivers over more often.
According to the most recent UCF Traffic Statistical Report, UCF officers issued 1,565 citations for various traffic charges in 2012.
Of those stops, 195 resulted in a speeding violation, 75 people ran a stop sign and 37 people ran a red light.
Campus commuters may have to take extra measures to obey red-light cameras popping up in the area on their way to UCF.
A new red-light camera installed at the intersection of Waterford Lakes and Alafaya Trail has caused students to take notice UCF and Orange County Police are cracking down on speeding and traffic violations.
According to photoenforced.com users, there are at least five red-light cameras in the area, and users report tickets as much as $158.
Kelsey Massaro, senior nursing major, has noticed the cameras on her commute to school.
“I think they help deter the more mindful drivers from running the red light or speeding up when it comes to a stale yellow,” Massaro said.
Massaro also claims to witness at least one person “blatantly run the red” each week.
With so many pedestrians on campus walking to local restaurants and stores, students’ safety is at risk, said Tyler Groelle, a senior pre-law major.
“I definitely see the benefit in the cameras. Drivers running lights can be incredibly dangerous with so many students on foot,” he said.
The issue strikes a personal chord for Groelle.
“A good friend of mine was hit by a bus on a campus crosswalk. Obviously a bus would not intentionally run a light, but many students do. I think cameras would make students more cautious about stopping timely, in turn keeping pedestrians and other drivers safe,” Groelle said.
Massaro said the main reason students run red lights is because they are in a hurry to try and avoid being late to class.
“I live literally two streets away from Challenger Parkway and still have to leave a full 40 minutes before class to get there on time, and then I have to fight for a parking spot,” he said. “One of the most enticing reasons to speed or run a red light on campus is running late for class.”
Students have reported speed traps popping up on roads leading in to campus and have been spotted on campus as well.
Knights have also taken to using social media such as Twitter as a way to inform other students of impending “police problems.”
Since June 19, there have been six tweets about speed traps on or around campus and four out of the six tweets reported a speed trap on Greek Park — each on a different day.
“Speed traps don’t enhance the safety of campus traffic; they merely inconvenience students and waste funding,” Groelle said.
UCF police have seemingly set up speed traps on campus before, but could red-light cameras be coming to UCF’s main campus?
“I don’t know if that’s something that has even been up for discussion,” said Courtney Gilmartin, UCF’s public information officer. “I have heard about there being red-light cameras at other colleges. I think it could be an interesting idea.”
As far as off-campus housing goes, “I don’t think that there are any red-light cameras around there,” she said.
Gilmartin urges students to practice safe driving on campus.
“Speed limit signs are posted pretty predominantly around campus, and it’s important for students to follow them — all of them — because we are a campus of pedestrians. In that respect, I think it is important for all students to obey the traffic laws and speed limits because it’s about their safety,” she said.
Massaro said that red-light cameras might not be the only option to create a safer environment for drivers.
“I don’t think they eliminate danger in its entirety, but nothing really can. If parking was a little easier around campus students wouldn’t have to arrive so far ahead of time,” Massaro said.
Gilmartin reminds students that they are often on foot when not behind the wheel on campus.
“Students who drive on campus are also pedestrians at some point, so I think that the message of safety is crucial for pedestrians and drivers,” she said.
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