The City of Sarasota is cash strapped as are most cities. So council member voted to install "red light' violations electronic signals at all major intersections. The fines are so lucrative that the plan to expand these signals to all traffic lighted intersections. The money goes to a company in
Cincinnati, Ohio who returns about $100,000 a month to the City.
Most victims are out-of-towners, (snowbirds) and the fines are hefty. I received an $162 fine for failing to stop for 3 seconds before making a right hand turn on a red light even though there were no pedestrians or vehicles present.
What was present? Three, yes, three panhandlers working the intersection of University and Rt. 41. Panhandlers abound all over Sarasota without city interference.
Most studies indicate more accidents by vehicles travelling at posted speeds. As their vehicle is close to entering an intersection when the light turns yellow, they erroneously slam on their brakes when the vehicle following believes they will proceed and instead rear-ends them. But if hotel-motel taxes aren't high enough, these traffic signal cameras and resulting fines plus auto body repair and hospitals visits help get more of the snowbirder's money.
Traffic on weekends, starting fairly early, is discouraging. Parking downtown is almost all pay parking and difficult to find openings and difficult to get in and out of downtown parking decks. Sarasota also has a few confusing round-a-bouts causing both motorist and pedestrian irritation. They haven't yet installed yellow flashing lights as Peoria has. Peoria paid Bradley University $150,000 to study a system already proven effective in many cities for many years. Has the study been released as yet. And publicized?
So why am I here? Drop in tennis where I could play everyday of the week outside on clay courts. Also, suite motels can be had at reasonable costs and then there are the heated pools and beaches. Siesta Key is rated one of the best beaches in the country. And of course, the weather, where outside tennis can be played 99% of the time, rain or shine with sometimes only an hour of so delay after rainfall.
Also, some of the best tennis tournaments are held in the area. I play in one starting on Monday at Payne Park, a well run city-owned facility, where I also am a member.