Letter: Re Photo Radar and Red Light Camera vote

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Further to the photo radar vs. photo laser (lidar) matter, we would like to emphasize that the upcoming photo radar enforcement bylaw vote is VERY IMPORTANT and we encourage everyone to please vote.

It is recognized that the Petition was poorly worded, however, the bylaw had to reflect the exact wording of the Petition. It has not been a secret that the Petition did not describe the actual technology currently used in Morinville, and no one was trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. However, it is interesting that some of the most vocal advocates of this petition claim to be “knowledgeable” regarding the operations of the Morinville photo enforcement contractor, yet they clearly are not. In any event, we do acknowledge the intent of the Petition which was to be rid of Photo Speed Enforcement.

This matter is important because Morinville does not possess the resources (RCMP or Community Peace Officers) to supply an equal amount of speed enforcement, without impairing their ability to do their many other tasks, and this is a risk to traffic safety and/or community safety all around. An option is to hire more officers with a cost to taxpayers of approx. $300,000.00 per year to do traffic speed enforcement already being done by the contractor at NO COST TO THE TAX PAYER. Also please consider that there is a shortage of RCMP members nationwide and Morinville is no exception and Community Peace Officers are similarly hard to acquire.

The Petitioner stated in the St. Albert Gazette article dated December 18, 2013, that “Morinville should not hire any additional officers to cover the hours currently spent by photo radar contractors, even if police have to take time away from other duties to do traffic enforcement”.

And if this was the case, would the Petitioner like noxious weeds to take priority over traffic safety? What about the Dare Program for our children, or the school liaison officer at our schools, the animal control, unsightly premises or domestic violence complaints? How shall these tasks be prioritized?

“That’s their problem, not mine,” he said. “Let’s see these guys go out and do some work every once in awhile.” The statement itself is insulting and speaks volumes. Suffice to say that it shows absolute disrespect to our law enforcement men and women.

The Petitioner stated that “council should either raise taxes by five per cent to make up for lost revenue by photo enforcement, or cut spending”. We do not subscribe to the notion that – taxpayers should pay the bad acts of those individuals that choose to ignore the posted speed limits.
The following is an excerpt from the British Columbia Ministry of Justice for consideration.

“Reducing Speed Reduces the Effects of Impact-
Reducing the effects of vehicle impact is possible by maintaining a safe driving speed. By driving at a safe speed, you have more time to react and more distance for braking….
• A pedestrian hit at 30 km/hr has a 90% chance of SURVIVING.
• A pedestrian hit at 50 km/hr has an 80% chance of BEING KILLED.”

B.C. photo enforcement failed, because of politics, which should never be involved in Traffic safety. In the first year of photo speed enforcement, the fatalities decreased 25%. When it was cancelled, injuries from collisions increased 25% and fatalities 17%.
At the end of the day, the result of the votes WILL count, no matter which technology is currently being used. In the future, Morinville may wish the option to use Red Light Cameras which are “photo radar” technology. There are other traffic safety initiatives that the bylaw, if passed, would restrict.

A Vote of NO means that you do not support the bylaw and you wish that Morinville be allowed to use Photo Radar and Red Light Camera technology as a traffic safety enhancement.

A Vote of YES means that you support the petition/bylaw and have a dramatic increase in incidents of excessive speed within the community going unchallenged. That sounds harsh, but the reality is that the void left by the elimination of photo speed enforcement cannot be filled by the existing compliment of RCMP and Community Peace Officers and if it is, it will come at a significant increase to the tax base.

Keith Norris
Charmaine Enns

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26 Comments

  1. Photo radar, any way you slice it, is a complete scam. I hope the residents of your town vote it out! From the sound of your letter it looks as though you’d just prefer to have a speed limit of 30 KM/HR across the entire country. Think of the lives it would save! Are you two paid shill’s by the photo enforcement company? Every place I’ve seen these scamera’s in use traffic slows down when they see the speed and they immediately resume their previous speed once they are past the scamera. Its benefits are temporary. You site some of the stats that the scamera companies love, but what you fail to take into account is factors outside of photo radar. Vehicle safety, traffic counts, and even weather could make the changes, but please, don’t let me stop you from pushing your pro-scamera agenda. I’m just a guy who hates the idea of big brother watching over everything I do.

    Oh, and that whole “don’t speed and you won’t get a ticket” line. Not so much. Got one once when my watch said it was 4:02. The timestamp on the scamera ticket? 3:58. Not a single kid in sight.

    People of Morinville: Send these scammers, and their equipment, packing!

  2. Here are some hard statisics from Transportation Alberta for 2012:
    Total pedestrians Killed in Alberta – 47
    Total Pedestrians Injured in Alberta – 1162
    Of these totals:
    35.4% Had Driver driving Properly
    40.7% Had driver failing to yeild right of way to pedestrian
    20.6% Had non speed related infractions
    4.3% listed as other and cannot be confirmed if speed was a factor or not
    The statistic that I’m sure most parents would be interested in is the age group between 5 and 14
    In this age group, 0 children were killed, but 130 children were injured this works out to 5.8 children per population of 10,000.
    It is devestating to even have one child pedestrian injured as a result of a traffic violation. It is also a travesty to give ourselves a false sense of security by telling ourselves that our children are protected by Photo enforcement of speed. Hiding in the background and issuing tickets three weeks later may slow down traffic in the long run, but how many children will wait three weeks before they cross the road. Immediate and visible protection is what our children need.
    In this article the town is saying they will have to hire more Community Peace Officers if Photo Radar was to be abolished, this I will agree with. What I find hard to fathom is that the cost would be $300,000 to replace a Photo Radar Operator who only works 35 hours a week, unless of course hardcore enforcement of the Alberta Traffic Act and town bylaws are what we need to keep money flowing into our treasury.

  3. Interesting that Mr. Norris said “BC photo enforcement failed because of politics, which should never be involved in traffic safety” and then try to scare residents of Morinville by saying that to get rid of photo radar means that the residents condone speeding within the town limits. Quite the comment since no where in the initial justification for starting photo radar enforcement in Morinville was there any historical data pertaining to pedestrian / speeding vehicle accidents, no lives lost due to pedestrian / speeding vehicle accidents within Morinville town limits! You can quote provincial stats all you want, but bad drivers in other Alberta towns does not mean that we need photo radar enforcement in Morinville! Safety was always the secondary factor in starting photo radar in Morinville. The one justification that WAS presented for photo radar was the enormous sums of money that could be raised to fund the white elephant community center! I would be interested to hear from the RCMP or whomever collects data on traffic safety in Morinville exactly how many accidents there have been over the last 25 years that have been directly attributed to speeding vehicles WITHIN THE TOWN LIMITS OF MORINVILLE ONLY! I would hazard a guess that there would be NO historical data whatsoever to justify photo radar enforcement within the town limits! As mentioned above, if, God forbid, a child / pedestrian was ever hit by a speeding vehicle, will the mayor be the one to tell the greiving family, ” don’t worry in three to four weeks that guilty driver will receive a speeding ticket from the town of Morinville, but will still be able to drive because they won’t lose any points on their license”? That’s not much of a deterent! But a great source of income for town coffers!

  4. Well lets look at the crosswalk by A&W and Shell, I have lost track of how many times Me or someone in my family had to get out of the way because some moron decided it’s ok to do 70 and doesn’t have time to slow down, so to all the people who want photo radar gone are you going to join the RCMP to help alleviate the shortage so they can do the jobs they do every day, like police the streets for speeders?

    • I don’t like that cross walk either but the size the crossing is more of a problem than speeding. Putting a controlled pedestrian crossing there would make it safer than photo radar.

  5. M. Theriault, obviously photo radar is doing NOTHING to aid your cause. I am assuming that the times when you have had to jump out of the way of a speeding car happened recently, since photo radar came to town? So, if an RCMP officer or a town Peace Officer had been there, these speeders would have been nabbed right away, given a ticket for speeding (including demerit points) and possibly been charged with dangerous driving! If a photo radar van had been there, possibly the picture could have included you flying through the air after being hit by the speeder, but more likely, the van would not be there because that location is not really a money maker for the photo radar company or the town!

    • Yeah I just can’t wait to see the mess when they put in the “supposed” round abouts, I remeber the mess with the Traffic lights were installed. Might grab a bag of popcorn and a lawn chair. Lots of great youtube vids.

  6. I would rather have the RCMP and by law officers free to deal with matters other than speeders. Photo radar is a good deterrent and to those who say it’s a cash grab the solution is easy, quit speeding.

    • I’m not against photo radar but what I am against is them hiding behind buildings or bushes or other objects….that’s total crap. The cross walks for the most part are poorly marked and the signs don’t stand out…..with or without photo radar one things for sure speeding will always be there. I believe council needs to look at curbing the spending of the tax payers money so freely …..there has to be other ways to cut spending if we no longer have photo radar income.

  7. This is the second, rather lengthy, letter submitted by these two Town of Morinville ‘Talking Heads’ wherein meaningless stats from everywhere on the globe EXCEPT Morinville are being thrown up in an attempt to scare the hell out of the residents of this Town. Pray tell, Keith and Charmaine, exactly WHERE are you getting all this good info from? Has the Town’s Corporate Operations office been feeding your little gristmill?

    Do you REALLY expect us to believe that the Provincial authorities have given ITS and the Town a ‘clean bill of health’ in their audits of this situation?? Because until those audits are released to the public – WHICH TO DATE THEY HAVE NOT BEEN – we have only YOUR’s and the TOWN’s say-so of their contents. How do I know this? Easy… I PERSONALLY, through a Freedom of Information (FOIP) request, asked for one. Guess what? That which I received back was so redacted as to be absolutely and totally useless and did NOT verify the statement that ‘all was well and ITS either met or exceeded the standard’.

    Here’s another interesting question that, although asked, appears to have never been answered: Along that stretch of Cardiff Road, adjacent to the South Glens residential sub-division, exactly how many accidents have occurred? Yet our vaunted Traffic Safety folks have continued to dick around with signs and changing speed limits for how long now?

    Rick Price’s statistics and deductions I absolutely agree with and Will’s comments are also on the mark.

    The final paragraph of this latest Norris / Enns letter is blatant and undisguised fear mongering, which I find repulsive and very disgusting! How can you POSSIBLY say there will be a “…a dramatic increase in incidents of excessive speed within the community…” or “…the void left by the elimination of photo speed enforcement cannot be filled by the existing compliment of RCMP and Community Peace Officers.”? NOBODY has EVER made public exactly HOW those conclusions were reached. A lot of talk – but no hard EVIDENCE.

    Why is it I get the uncomfortable feeling that Morinville’s Administration will say and do damn near ANYTHING to preserve this enforcement tool? It seems to me that had they only yielded to the earlier groundswell of public opinion concerning the use of photo radar, we would have avoided ALL of this controversy…

    The truest characters of ignorance are vanity and pride and arrogance.
    – Samuel Butler

  8. Not to condone speeding but on a daily basis i see someone (man, woman or child) cross the road without even looking. Whatever happened to people teaching their kids to look both ways before crossing. Obviously the schools aren’t teaching it either or are all these kids and parents around too plugged in to teach and learn! Defense is the best offence in my opinion.

  9. Confused? Is the photo radar program designed for safety or town income? I think the TOM should stop threatening its residents that if this program went away it would cost them $300,000+. Ideally if this program is about safety and the TOM really wanted us to slow down would that not be a threat to town income too. In other words, if this program disappears our taxes will go up, but if this program is successful our taxes will go up anyway because there will be no fines being collected. I don’t think the TOM wants us to slow down and isn’t that the goal? Let the real law enforcement enforce traffic laws that will keep our residents safe.

    • You signed your comment as “Confused”, but I don’t believe you are. In fact, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with your little analysis… IF our Town Administration AND both the PREVIOUS and PRESENT MAYORS and COUNCILLORS had not been so bloody arrogant about listening to what citizens have been asking for (for well over TWO YEARS now), there would NOT have been a petition, the Town would NOT be squandering scarce taxpayer $$$ throwing up a fear-mongering defence of their position and we certainly would NOT be going through this expensive referendum/voting process.

      Any CLOSE examination of this whole issue quite clearly reveals more than one hole in their argument. But – there you go, eh??

      It’s now up to the citizens.

  10. I’m 17 and I go to the local high school. Honestly I believe that photo enforcement is needed, I see how people drive while we have this, I don’t want to imagin how quick people will be driving when there is less traffic enforcement. And if the community isnt getting that $300,000 from photo radar, where will they get it? Raised taxes..

  11. Unbelievably lunacy , just like some of the driving habits I see every day in this town , in my opinion. I have been a lifelong pedestrian and bike rider and I was taught to be cautious and considerate to all other traffic especially motor vehicles . I routinely see mothers with kids in the car talking on cell phones and speeding, people in big trucks or sports cars whipping down residential streets, people not using caution ,signals or common sense . in my humble opinion if we lose photo radar it may not make any difference but putting more officers out there to deter speeding would simply be a cash cow as well as it is well known that these bad drivers will modify their driving behaviours when enforcement is present and in sight. Simple solution to all those who want the photo radar outfit to leave Morinville , force them to leave because you are obeying the laws and they are not making any money !

  12. It cost me a lot of money to learn my lesson in Morinville. As much as I despise photo radar it is a necessary evil so our taxes do not go up. If it goes away how will the town replace the revenue? Tax increase. Vote NO

    • So if everyone slows down, how will the town replace the revenue? This shouldn’t be about town revenue. If it is, the the town should put up billboards at reading:

      “Please Support Our Community and Go 12 over the Speed Limit”

  13. I will be voting NO to KEEP Photo Radar enforcement in Morinville. In just about every other community I speed through in Alberta I have the possibility of getting a ticket in the mail. There is absolutely no way I will subsidize speeders through my own community. If people speed, they get a ticket. Simple. Not the only enforcement tool but one that contributes to a comprehensive speed reduction plan. Our community can then use fines to supplement the recreational opportunities we want and enjoy.

  14. In a previous entry, I listed some statistics easily found on the Internet reference pedestrian involved collisions in Alberta. To give the Pro Photo Radar people a fair voice, I have listened to their arguments. I have searched the internet to find any statistical data on traffic infractions. I could not find any. I will admit that I am against Photo Radar, not because I advocate speeding, but because I advocate ethical law enforcement. We all like to feel safe in our community, and like a lot of other people living in our town, I chose to live here to be part of a safe community. The town officials in their arguments to keep Photo Traffic enforcement in town, have released some data which they claim shows that photo radar has worked When I try to look closer at their figures, they have no statistical data to back their claims up with. Some of the questions I would like to see answered, but probably wont, are:
    How many Photo tickets have been issued to vehicles in transition zones as described in the guidelines? (The town argues that transition zones are not defined in the traffic safety act, therefore do not technically exist, however they are defined in the guidelines, which I have seen the town argue do not have to be followed because they are only guidelines)
    Does the town have statistical data on tickets indicating, speed, direction of travel, location and time of day, and if so, is the town willing to share this data with its citizens.
    Does the traffic act have a definition for unmarked crosswalk?
    In the end, in my opinion, it comes down to one factor, how do we want to enforce the law in our community, by man or by robot.

    • Your right on Rick. I would rather see my tax dollars go to the RCMP and Sheriffs who are willing to work for a living than wanna be cops who are hiding in the bushes and sleeping.

  15. Probably most of the people commenting in this column are going to get a tax increase anyways for retribution. It’s happened before!

  16. Is this you too? I am not a habitual speeder and I think I am good person. However, if running late, I have pushed it going 5-10 over. Sometimes I am just not paying attention but there have been a times I have gambled, hoping photo radar isn’t around the “one time”. Photo radar would not deter me. I don’t intend to be careless & I don’t like paying fines either but in that moment I really don’t like being late. Isn’t that the primary reason people speed? A better deterrent would be if I thought a law enforcement officer might pull me over, making me even later for whatever I think is so important, would I gamble? Probably not.

  17. Photo radar is and will always be a cash grab with no tangible evidence on longterm speed reduction. i agree with rick about ethical law enforcement. tell me how setting up at the end of a school zone taking tickets is in any way reducing the danger to the kids inside the zone.

    as for pedestrians, way to many times do i see them cross the street with no regard for traffic or the situation around them. no one looks up, no one checks to see if a car is to close to make a safe stop before crossing. thats a major problem in my eyes.

    back to the issue, i have never seen a study or witnessed an issue with speeding in morinville and i grew up here. what i do see is a lack of RCMP patrolling or just driving around. arguing that people will drive faster without photo radar is a baseless argument as there was not a noted problem with excessive speeding before the photo radar was implemented.

  18. Regardless of the outcome of the referendum vote on the 14th, you good people keep asking the questions. Maybe, just MAYBE, you’ll have better luck than I have with getting answers – and I (and others) have been fighting this battle for almost THREE YEARS now. But, with THIS council’s so-called promises of – wait for it – more ‘openness’, ‘transparency’ and ‘communication with the electorate’, some of the answers might just appear. I would STRONGLY suggest however that you do NOT hold your breath waiting for any such revelation!

    Have a nice day.

    PS: Rick Price for Mayor

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