Norfolk, Portsmouth to install speed cameras in school zones | #schoolsaftey

NORFOLK, Va. — Two cities on the Southside are installing additional technology aimed at improving traffic safety. Schools and student well-being appear to be a large focus behind the initiatives.

Plans in Norfolk include the installation of 19 speed cameras spanning 10 school zones. In Portsmouth, city council Tuesday night voted to let the public school division use school bus stop-arm cameras.

The stop-arm cameras are designed to catch drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses. Violators face a $250 civil fine.

A Portsmouth Public Schools spokeswoman said in part, “administration can now begin its planning and procurement process, but we are anticipating a second semester implementation.”

A Hampton Roads mom who did not wish to give her name told 13News Now she thinks the added safety measure to the school buses is necessary. “I can’t imagine I get a phone call or I pull and my baby is laying in the middle of the street,” she said. 

In neighboring Norfolk, speed cameras are going up in certain locations. 

Nine school zones, including Booker T. Washington High School, Norview High and Richard Bowling Elementary, are getting a pair of speed cameras each.

The school zone at Larchmont Elementary will receive one because of the way the road curves there.

RELATED: Installation of 19 school zone speed cameras underway, Norfolk city leaders say

Norfolk’s transportation director said during a work session Tuesday that the city plans to have all those cameras operating in the second quarter of 2024.

Similar programs are already underway in other cities like Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Suffolk, where the mom we spoke with lives.

“It’s really great to have because you’re really mindful of the times, you slow down and it’s very safe for the kids,” the Suffolk parent said.  

Back in Portsmouth, resident Andre Bradley said he notices careless driving especially during the evening rush, “It could cause a lot of accidents,” 

On Tuesday night, Portsmouth city council gave the go-ahead for the installation of cameras meant to catch drivers running red lights.

Bradley thinks it will send the right message to the public. “Slow down more or be cautious or know that they’re being watched,” he said. 

Red light cameras in Portsmouth are expected to get up and running in February. The fine for that is $50. It would not be used for insurance or counted as a point against the driver on their record, the ordinance read. 

RELATED: Portsmouth police officers install speed cameras in seven school zones

Furthermore, as another heads up for drivers in Portsmouth, enforcement begins Friday for the new speed cameras set up at seven school zones.

In the last month, drivers caught in violation received warnings in the mail.

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