After taking in all the discussion about photo radar, we all must make our own decision, and mine boils down to one factor. Safety.
I’m not talking about a reduction in speeders. If you change a speed limit from 50km/hr to 60km/hr (as was done on 100 Street by No Frills), you’re going to have a reduction in speeders, but that improvement isn’t due to photo radar.
To evaluate safety, you have to look at accidents. If photo radar was effective in improving safety, you would expect them to set up in areas where there were accidents the previous year, and you would expect the areas where they are giving out many tickets to be the unsafe areas with many accidents.
To evaluate the safety impact of photo radar, I went to the “2013 Annual Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Report”, and mapped out (in red) all the non-parking lot accidents in 2011 and 2012 that were used in the report. I would expect that these trouble spots would be where automated enforcement would be deployed and issuing tickets the next year.
I then mapped (in yellow) the six locations of where 97 per cent of the tickets were given out in 2013.
This map shows us two things. First, photo radar gives out tickets mainly in areas with no history of accidents. Second, when photo radar is being deployed into high-risk area, almost no tickets are given out, yet still these remain high risk areas. This means that photo radar is not an effective safety mechanism in these areas, and that police presence would be preferable. This is a more obvious conclusion when you realize that almost ALL these accidents are caused by things like talking on cell phones, failure to signal, failure to stop at a sign, etc.
Town administration has stated that losing photo radar may mean they have to hire another officer to make up the 35 hours per week that photo radar is active. It seems that administration sees the two as interchangeable, but this analysis shows otherwise. Hiding behind a smokescreen of ‘safety’ while caring only about revenue does NOT make our streets safer. On April 14th, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Community Cultural Centre, I will be voting YES to getting rid of photo radar, so that we can start to have a discussion about how to actually improve safety in our community.