COLLIER COUNTY — Smile, you’re on candid camera— or are you?
There are signs, at least intermittently, along Collier Boulevard near Wal-Mart, north of Marco Island, and near U.S. 41 and State Road 951 warning that intersections are photo enforced.
Neither intersection actually has a camera, Collier County Sheriff’s Office and transportation officials confirmed.
Collier County installed a black and white sign that reads “Red lights photo enforced” with the image of a camera on it.
“They have been installed at many of our gateways into the county, such as off of Interstate 75, on Old 41, and on Collier Boulevard to advise motorists that cameras are being used to enforce traffic laws,” said Gene Calvert, the project manager for Collier County Transportation Services’ Red Light Camera Enforcement Program.
Calvert said this sign is to let people know as they enter Collier County that it’s a county that uses cameras.
Jennifer Bryson of Naples said she saw the signs, but didn’t look around for the cameras. “It’s a typical threat tactic,” she said.
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A different sign, which has an image of a red, green and yellow traffic light that reads simply “photo enforced” is the sign used at intersections where the cameras have actually been installed, Calvert said.
Collier County Transportation Services spokeswoman Connie Deane said the goal is compliance.
“We want people to stop at red lights, not just where they see the signs.”
There are no additional cameras currently scheduled for Collier Boulevard. However, future consideration is being given to install the red light enforcement cameras at the intersection of Collier Boulevard and U.S. 41, Calvert said.
Laws prevent Collier County from placing cameras in the right-of-way of roads maintained by the state transportation department. Because Collier Boulevard is a state road south of U.S. 41, and a county road north of U.S. 41, Deane said the county will only be able to put the cameras on the southbound side of County Road 951, also called Collier Boulevard. The county is also prevented from putting the cameras on the federally-maintained U.S. 41.
There are 12 locations that currently have cameras and Bryson said she finds it dangerously distracting.
Marco resident Anthony Feola said he frequents the intersection of 951 and 41 several times per week and is familiar with the signs that might fake most drivers into believing the intersection has a camera.
“I look for the cameras every time I approach the intersection ... The signs are a deceptive way to alter behavior. They are similar to a police car parked in a median that is unoccupied,” Feola said.
He sees a pro and a con to the whole practice.
“They do serve a purpose in that they deter some drivers from running a red light, so from that standpoint they are not bad. People need to stop on red and not run red lights.
“I am opposed to the use of red light cameras in the county mainly because it is clear they are primarily being used to generate income in the form of citations. The fact that the vehicle is ticketed and not the driver supports that.”
There are 12 intersections that currently have red light cameras and are posted to the Collier County Web site, as well as Naples Daily News and Marco Eagle sites.
Additional intersections that are scheduled to have operational cameras in February include:
- Southbound Airport Road at Tamiami Trail/U.S. 41
- Eastbound Seagate Drive at Tamiami Trail/U.S. 41
- Northbound Airport at Pine Ridge Road
- Southbound Airport at Pine Ridge Road
- Eastbound 111th Avenue at Tamiami Trail/U.S. 41
- Westbound Immokalee Rd. at Tamiami Trail/U.S. 41
- Westbound Immokalee Rd. at Airport Road
- Northbound Airport Road at Radio Road