Local News

New Chapel Hill Town Council May Get Rid Of Red-Light Cameras

Posted November 11, 2003 10:31 a.m. EST

— Red-light cameras in the Triangle area have caught thousands of drivers in the act of committing violations.

They are snagging people in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Chapel Hill and Rocky Mount.

In a matter of months, more cameras are expected in Cary and Durham.

At least one town wants the cameras gone. Chapel Hill may put a stop to its red-light cameras.

Workers installed Chapel Hill's newest red-light camera Tuesday at 15-501 and Europa Drive. The camera will be nabbing red-light runners as early as Thursday.

But, as cameras continue to go up, newly-elected Chapel Hill councilman Cam Hill has spoken out on red-light photo enforcement.

"It's not a good solution to a problem that's really not very great," Hill said. "So it's flawed in every way.

"I'm against the cameras on principle. I've been against them since the beginning. I have a clear conscience. I'm going to vote against it every opportunity I get."

Two red-light supporters left the town council. Their replacements, Hill and fellow new council-member Sally Greene, are against the cameras.

Three sitting council members also oppose them.

Opponents with a new 5-4 majority may push for an anti-red light vote as soon as January. The new anti-red light majority takes office next month.

Some Chapel Hill drivers do not agree with the new majority.

"People are running red lights," a driver said. "Everybody's in a hurry. I think it's a good idea. I think it will discourage people from running red lights."

Said Hill: "So, we're sending our money to an out-of-town company to run these cameras. It's worse than a Wal-Mart store. With a Wal-Mart store, you get local employment. This way, it's going straight out of town."

If Hill gets his way, workers may be back in town in a couple months to bring down cameras that the previous council put up.

Chapel Hill's two red-light cameras have been up for two months, and 200 citations have been mailed out.