Speed cameras paused in Providence during school closures

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The school-zone speed cameras in Providence are not operating during the extended school closure due to the coronavirus, Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré confirmed.

The cameras normally operate from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday during the school year, and are aimed at catching speeders who are going 31 miles per hour or more in the 20 mile per hour school zone.

“They are not operating when schools are not in session,” Paré said in an email. “Virtual or otherwise.”

Schools in Providence have been closed all week, and are slated to be closed for at least another two weeks as students shift to virtual learning.

Drivers have paid about $7 million in fines to the controversial speed camera program since its inception, with $3.8 million going to the city and $3.1 to private vendor Conduent, which also runs the city’s red light cameras.

The Providence City Council approved an amended contract with Conduent Thursday night that would pay the company less per violation, and stop paying the company for warning tickets, which garner no revenue for the city.

The new contract also allows for five new cameras to be installed, for a total of 20.

Prior to turning the cameras off, the city was in the midst of moving a handful of cameras to new school zones, which has been done regularly since the cameras went online in 2018. Signs already posted in various locations say the new cameras will go into effect on March 30, with a warning period before they actually start issuing fines.

Outside of the school zones, the speed limit throughout most of Providence is 25 miles per hour.

Steph Machado (smachado@wpri.com) covers Providence, politics and more for WPRI 12. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook

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