By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Traffic and traffic violation tickets were both up double digits in the first quarter of 2012. Educational speed signs on 100 Avenue monitored more than 500,000 vehicles between January and March of this year, a 10 per cent increase over the same period of 2011. Tickets issued at the community’s 20 photo radar locations were up 12 per cent over the same period of 2011.
Although the educational speed signs clock and record driver speeds through town, they are for statistical and education purposes and are not connected to the community’s photo radar program. Statistics from those signs show that 8 per cent of westbound travellers and 10 per cent of eastbound travellers exceeded the speed limits during the first quarter. The highest speeds were 117 kilometres per hour in a 50 km/h zone. These same speeds were monitored eastbound and westbound.
Both speed signs were vandalized during the first quarter. One sign was cut off the post and destroyed when it hit the ground. The other was hit with a blunt object causing considerable damage. The signs were replaced by ITS at their expense.
While the speed signs are not connected with the issuance of photo radar tickets, Morinville’s photo radar contractor, Integrated Traffic Services, was busy in other parts of town issuing tickets. The first quarter of 2012 saw a 12 per cent increase in violation over the same period of 2011.
Morinville’s Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Oyarzun said the same 20 locations were monitored although not all 20 sites produced tickets.
In total 1,162 photo radar tickets were issued in Morinville between January and March of this year, 120 tickets more than the same period of 2011. In their report to Administration, ITS attributes the increase in the number of tickets issued to the mild winter.
Of the 20 locations monitored by the contractor, 11 locations resulted in no speeding tickets being issued. During the first quarter, ITS spent a total of 403 hours monitoring traffic in Morinville. Of this time, 96 hours were spent at the 100 Avenue and 87 Street location, a position that resulted in 604 speeding tickets, more than half of the 1,162 issued in the period. The 100 Street and 87 Avenue location saw 65 hours of monitoring, resulting in 277 tickets being issued. A total of 36 hours were spent on 101 Avenue between 100 Street and 102 Street. This location resulted in 171 tickets being issued. ITS spent the least amount of time at the 100 Avenue / East Boundary Road and 100 Avenue near Highway 2 locations, two spots that have caused considerable controversy among motorists for catching people leaving town. Six hours were spent at each of the two locations according to the report. No tickets were issued at the East Boundary Road stop and only five tickets were issued at the Highway 2 location. The most hours spent at any of the non-ticket-bearing locations was 17 hours.
Speeding specifics are not included in the report; however, the highest violation caught by ITS occurred on Apr. 15 when a vehicle was clocked at 140 km/h in the 60 km/h zone on 100 Street near Tim Hortons. It is the highest photo radar speeding violation to date.
The Town has recently mapped all its stop signs and speed zones and will take this before a couple open houses with an eye towards a complete review of photo radar locations and the community’s overall traffic safety plan.