Providence hopes to add 15 speed cameras in school zones

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Crosswalks and school zone signs are already used in Providence to try and slow down drivers near schools. Now, the city is hoping to add speed cameras to ensure the safety of its students.

According to Ward 5 Concilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan, drivers in Providence continue to speed through school zones at an alarming rate. A few years ago, Ryan said a teacher was struck and killed while walking across a street near Mount Pleasant High School.

“It’s concerning to me. We have a speed issue, traffic control issue in my ward,” Ryan said. “It’s very important to have them in intersections near schools because that’s among our most vulnerable population.”

Still, the plan to add 15 speed cameras near Providence school zones is facing opposition from the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). According to Marcela Betancur, a policy associate at the ACLU, the plan would do more for city revenues than student well-being.

“Speed cameras do little to prevent individuals from speeding in school zones, flagging them only after they have sped through the zone,” Betancur said. “Instead of acting primarily as a safety measure, increased cameras would make speeding tickets first about making money and second about driver safety.”

The city of Providence is currently working with the Department of Transportation and expects the cameras to be installed at the end of 2017.