By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Town Council voted 6-1 in favour of extending its contract with Independent Traffic Services (ITS) Ltd. Tuesday night, a company that has provided automatic traffic enforcement in Morinville since 2009. The contract with the company was set to expire Dec. 31, but a clause in the contract allowed the town to extend the contract for another two years provided written notice was given to the contractor on or prior to June 30.
Council spent little time discussing the matter, which came towards the end of a heavy agenda. Councillor Lisa Holmes questioned whether extending the contract would prohibit the Town of Morinville negotiating clauses within the contract and was told clauses could be negotiated. Additionally, the councillor questioned when photo radar locations would be reviewed. ITS currently monitors 20 locations in Morinville for speeders and rotates between locations for a period of between 20 and 30 hours per week. A review of those locations would go before Morinville’s Traffic Safety Committee.
Councillors were presented with a report showing the results of having photo radar in town over the past two-and-a-half years. The data shows a decline in local residents receiving tickets. In the first year 44.5 per cent of tickets issued were to Morinville residents. That number has slightly decreased to 36.7 per cent of tickets issued.
In total, ITS has monitored 5,461,317 vehicles between Jan. 1, 2009 and May 30, 2011. Of that number 681,281 – or 12.5 per cent – of vehicles were recorded exceeding the speed limit. The highest speed clocked was 161 kilometres per hour.
Traffic tickets spiked considerably between 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 in some areas monitored by ITS. Tickets issued in school zones increased by 705 tickets from 339 in the first year to 1,044 in the current monitoring year. Cardiff Road saw an increase from 1,736 tickets in the first year to 2,197 tickets in the current year. 100 Avenue, east of 100 Street also saw a spike in tickets from 549 tickets to 771 in the current monitoring year.
While tickets were up in some key areas in town, other areas dropped, particularly 100 Street north of the railroad tracks. 809 tickets were issued in the first monitoring year, compared to only 52 in the current year. Overall tickets have dropped from 8,674 tickets in the first year to 6,353 this monitoring year. Current figures do not include data for the month of June, giving comparisons a 12 month to 11 month comparison.