Haney urges photo radar for Banff

By Cathy Ellis
Mar 17 2007

A Banff councillor is urging his fellow colleagues to consider the use of photo radar to slow down speeding motorists within town limits, particularly along the northern end of busy Banff Avenue.

On Monday (March 12), Banff council approved new $86,000 pedestrian-activated signals at the Banff Avenue/Fox Street crosswalk, but Coun. Bob Haney said that is a mere band-aid solution to the overall speeding problem in the area.

He said this is the third set of pedestrian lights that have been installed in the vicinity over the years, but pedestrians trying to cross the busy road are still in danger from speeding drivers breaking the 40-km/h limit.

“I think photo radar should be looked at by this council,” Coun. Haney said in an interview with the Outlook.

“I’m not saying I disagree with the pedestrian lights, but I still don’t think we’re getting to the root of the problem, and that’s speeding. We keep band-aiding with $86,000 fixes,” he added.

“I know when I go to Calgary where they use photo radar, I lose the concept of going 10-km over or 18-km over, and I don’t speed.”

In neighbouring Canmore, that municipality has hired a private company to use photo radar.

Warnings will be given beginning March 19 and tickets will start being issued after a break-in period on April 23.

Banff town manager Robert Earl said photo radar could be used in Banff if council elects to do that.

“If council elects to put in photo radar we can put one in a car, truck or on a pole,” he said.

“I’m not sure if a bylaw would be required.”

Meanwhile, the Town of Banff has received many complaints from residents about the intersection at Fox Street and Banff Avenue, including from a delegation before council last fall.

Evelyne Labelle, Banff’s engineering manager, said residents reported excessive speeds, but their main concerns seemed to centre on vehicles not stopping at the crosswalk for pedestrians.

“There’s negligible amounts of speeds,” she said.

During Monday’s debate, council also discussed the pros and cons of pedestrian crossing lights versus full traffic lights.

Coun. Justin Burwash said he agreed pedestrian signals at the crosswalk may not solve the problem at that end of town, but suggested a full set of traffic lights might help resolve speed concerns.

“I’d like to see costs associated with a full traffic intersection,” he said.

Mayor John Stutz voiced strong support for the pedestrian-activated signals.

“I think there are a number of other strategies available for speed control other than a traffic light,’ he said.

“If I can see a study that shows speeding is a problem here, I’m all over it.”

Coun. Karen Sorensen said there is an even bigger issue.

“The biggest issue is people who aren’t paying attention, who rip through stop signs and red lights,’ she said.

“That to me is way more than speed.”

Banff council did reduce the speed limit from 50-km/h to 40-km/h a few years ago.