by Dave S. Clark
Wednesday November 29, 2006
As the county is deciding on strategies to make its roads safer, Coun. Linda Osinchuk says she would like to see photo radar pulled from local streets.
“If we are truly looking at safety we need to look at other options,” she said. “(Photo radar) is just a cash cow.”
It is in fact a large generator of money, bringing in $1.4 million in the county last year. Nearly $600,000 of that went to the municipality About $420,000 went to the province and the rest went to Affiliated Computer Services, the company who has the county’s photo radar contract.
But Osinchuk’s issue with photo radar is that it isn’t an effective tool in preventing collisions.
“It’s estimated that 60 per cent of collisions happen intersections and photo radar isn’t an effective tool there,” she said.
One of the problems with photo radar, according to Osinchuk, is that there is too long of a time delay between when the offence happens, to when the ticket arrives in the mail.
“It doesn’t deter people right away,” she said, noting that the at least two-week wait after committing the offence is too lengthy. “People learn from experience and that should be immediate.”
For those reasons, Osinchuk says she would like photo radar to be removed completely from Strathcona County. She said it would be difficult to have it removed, but it is something that needs to happen.
Osinchuk says the county should install more speed indicators like on the westbound lanes of Wye Road where it intersects with Ordze Road. She says tools like those signs are more immediate and make drivers realize at that point they are driving too fast.
She says having police monitor the streets and pull over drivers is the most effective way to slow down speeders and teach them that they will be punished for exceeding the limits.
Officers pulling over speeders rather than relying on photo radar would also be more effective because the drivers would receive demerits on their license, according to Osinchuk.
However, she was unsure how realistic it would be to hire many more officers.
“If we are going to go the enforcement route, we need to have the constables in place to do it,” she said. “But can they be in every intersection? No.”
She said other measures also need to be taken to ensure all motorists in the county are safe, such as bigger stop signs at intersections on the rural streets.
She believes overall the roads are safe, but people are trying “to get from point A to point B as fast as they can” and the roads aren’t always designed for that.