Red light camera controversy sparks Cocoa Beach

By Justin Warmoth - Anchor

COCOA BEACH, Fla. - It's a decision many people face while driving: when a traffic light turns yellow, do we apply the brake or the gas? 

In today's day-and-age, several cities across the United States have installed red-light cameras that will slap you with a ticket if you make the wrong choice. 

For 3 years, the city of Cocoa Beach has had red-light cameras on their main stretch of road -- the busy State Road A1A. And for those 3 years, Cocoa Beach Mayor Dave Netterstrom says they've had nothing but complaints. That's why he's proposing to take all 3 red-light cameras out of his city.

"I'm concerned that it doesn't fit our brand and image of just being welcoming place to both live and visit," said Netterstrom.

Netterstrom says some of the complains he's had were about the yellow lights being too short. 

At the 3 different locations where the photo-enforced cameras are in place, Local 6 found the average yellow-light time is 4 seconds, but at two other locations near those intersections, the yellow-light time increased up to 5 tenths of a second. 

Mayor Netterstrom says the city goes by guidelines put forth by the state and doesn't want anything like that going on in his city.

"I don't want to see that. And again, for my point of view, I'm questioning if the program is worth it. It does cause a lot of controversy. I wouldn't mind putting it aside and focusing on more fun things that are less controversial," said Netterstrom.

The Florida Department of Transportation says that all yellow-light times are set to optimize safety and traffic flow and by no means are changed to increase revenue. 

Records show that Cocoa Beach has earned more than $340,000 since the red-light cameras were put in, but the state and red-light vendor together have taken in nearly $1.5 million. 

City council will have a discussion Thursday to decide if getting rid of the cameras is a good idea. 

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