by Colin Smith
The future of photo radar in Morinville will be on the table at the next regular meeting of Town Council on December 10.
Mayor Barry Turner moved at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting that Council considers three options for Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE), as it is officially termed.
These are continuing with the current ATE program; continuing to pursue regional opportunities for ATE provision; and directing Administration to develop a business case for a regional or in-house service and expansion of the program to include traffic lights, stop signs and crosswalk enforcement.
The motions followed a presentation of an Administration report on the current ATE program and alternatives to it. Council requested a report in June looking at the impacts of discontinuing the photo enforcement contract and replacing it with a combination of RCMP, Peace Officers and speed education signs, passing a motion by Councillor Stephen Dafoe.
Council was informed that the average speed measured in 2009 when the program began was 69 km/hr, which has dropped to an average 43 km/hr today, Turner noted.
“Overall, we have a strong, successful program that has achieved great results and I think is a model program that other communities can look to for guidance,” he said.
“It ensures the appropriate distribution of enforcement activities throughout the community, puts the RCMP in control of enforcement and the revenue funds safety improvements across the municipality rather than having funds go into general revenues.”
Projects funded through the Safety Reserve include the new streetlights at Cardiff Road and 100th Street, lighting at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre and lighting of walking trails in town. It will also be the source of funding for the lighting of both highway 642 and the walking trails to the Morinville Leisure Centre.
“The program is now essentially moving into more of a maintenance mode with the goal being to maintain the improvements that have been seen to date,” said Turner.
Methods of reducing overall costs and maximizing positive impacts on the community are now being investigated. This includes discussions with potential regional partners in providing ATE.
“Council has been discussing ATE for a number of years, and needs to make a decision on the long-term future of the program,” Turner stated.
He said an important consideration is that transportation infrastructure in Morinville has not changed significantly for a number of years.
“With our growing community, traffic safety is becoming an ever-more pressing concern. There have been some recent incidents involving pedestrians being struck by vehicles, as well as key locations in town where additional automated enforcement methods may be able to improve overall community traffic safety.”
Turner said the 2020 Budget includes the possible installation of pilot traffic calming infrastructure to begin to address some of these concerns.
He feels that in order to make additional improvements a sustainable source of funding not tied to property taxes is needed.
“Expanding the program to other types of enforcement such as red-light cameras, stop sign enforcement and crosswalk enforcement in a few high-priority locations would assist in raising revenue from violations to fund further advancements in overall community traffic and pedestrian safety.”
The Mayor stressed that no decisions have been made and encouraged everyone to share their views on the issue with members of Council.
Morinville currently has a one-year contract for ATE services with Global Traffic, with a 30-day notification of cancellation required by either party, that runs until April 2020.