Lights out: Moving forward without traffic cameras doesn’t mean speeders are off the hook

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CLEVELAND- Voters spoke out loud and clear against the city’s traffic cameras. Seventy-eight percent voted in favor of Issue 35 to remove the cameras, leaving city officials figuring out a way forward without the cameras.

“They’ve spoken and we’re going to have to abide by what they said,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

Drivers ticketed after 12 a.m. Wednesday are off the hook, but those ticketed any time before that still have to pay up, Jackson said.

The vote means a loss of $6 million in ticket revenue each year and may result in cuts to city services excluding those for children, Jackson said. The city’s finance director is still determining ways to fill the gap.

“It also means there will be a significant reduction of coverage of traffic safety,” Jackson said.

Jackson said the city simply can’t afford to hire the number of police officers it would take to replace the cameras, and less deterrence may tempt some drivers.

“Hopefully that does not result in serious death or injury to anybody,” Jackson said.

Cleveland safety officials will meet Thursday on a revised plan for police officer deployment and caution this doesn’t mean speeders are off the hook.

“We still have a responsibility to enforce the traffic violations in the city for the safety of the community,” Cleveland Director of Public Safety Michael McGrath said.

The camera vendor, Xerox, will handle removal of the camera equipment, but a date has not been set. Jackson said the city’s law department is reviewing its contract with Xerox to determine if the city owes any cancellation fees or removal costs.

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