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Neptune Beach considers an automatic traffic system for school zones, residents split on decision

NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. — Heads up drivers, a change may be coming to Neptune Beach school zones.

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City officials in Neptune Beach are set to have a public hearing and first reading tomorrow to discuss a new automated traffic ticketing system, that could leave you with a fine if you go over a certain speed.

Local drivers have mixed feelings about the proposed legislation.

While some residents say they see the automated system as a necessary measure to protect students, others say they are concerned about its effectiveness and the impact on motorists.

Jemesu Picone, a Neptune Beach driver, voiced support for the initiative, saying, “It will be difficult for people who speed, but I think if that’s the initiative to stop speeding, then yeah, it’s very beneficial.”

READ: City of Neptune Beach looks to bring speed cameras to school zones if approved by council

However, Atlantic Beach resident Jase Chandler is skeptical.

“I honestly think we already have enough officers as is, giving out speeding tickets,” Chandler said.

Neptune Beach Mayor Elaine Brown told Action News Jax about the importance of prioritizing child safety, particularly in school zones.

“That day, God forbid that some child got hurt or injured. Did we do everything that we could to protect the safety of a child going to school?” Mayor Brown stated.

The proposed ordinance says while Neptune Beach has not had a recent case, Jacksonville has had numerous incidents of pedestrians getting struck by a vehicle.

The proposal says if you drive 10 miles an hour over the speed limit during school hours, you’d be fined $100. And it will be sent to you in the mail. But if it’s passed, there will be a 30-day grace period.

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Chandler says while he agrees with keeping children safe, he’s not happy about the idea of an automated ticketing system.

“I don’t think that’s the best way to go about it. I think an officer should be patrolling the roads when school hours are starting or when they end,” Chandler said.

In a traffic study the city conducted for one day, it found that there were 200 speeding violations during school hours at Neptune Beach Elementary – which was about three percent of drivers during school hours. And Beaches Chapel Elementary had 182 violations which is about seven percent.

“Very scary actually for the kids who have to walk and bike to school,” Picone said.

Chandler, on the other hand, says he doesn’t think speeding is a problem.

“I do think the city has bigger issues to be putting their money towards rather than an automated traffic system,” Chandler said.

Tomorrow, city leaders are set to vote during the first reading. Neptune Beach requires a majority vote at two council meetings to adopt a new ordinance, so there will be another vote in the coming weeks.

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