Photo radar on Pattullo Bridge?

By Kevin Diakiw Black Press
Apr 12 2006

Drivers speeding over the Pattullo Bridge may soon be ticketed by a photo radar system if Surrey council has its way.
Monday, Coun. Marvin Hunt asked his colleagues to support installation of cameras that would take photos of speeding cars on the Pattullo, a span renowned as the most deadly in the province. The motion passed unanimously.
Twenty people have died in car accidents on the bridge since 1990 – five this year alone.
Hunt says it’s time to slow down cars. Long seen as a “cash cow,” photo radar was eventually discontinued province-wide by the Liberals just after the 2001 election.
But Hunt says difficult issues call for serious measures.
Five of seven fatal accidents between 1990 and 2001 were a result of excessive speed, according to an ICBC report prepared four years ago.
The report also noted that 80 to 90% of all traffic on the bridge was found to be in excess of the 60 km/h speed limit. The speed limit has since been lowered to 50 km/h at the centre span and 40 km/h at the curve.
There are several problems with the bridge design, specifically narrow lanes, but the quickest way to start saving lives is to slow traffic, Hunt says.
“I think that is the type of situation where council can support photo radar,” Hunt said Monday. “Our objection has always been that it’s just a cash cow.”
The city’s objection to photo radar has been that it’s often set up along thoroughfares where accidents seldom occur.
Mayor Dianne Watts said Monday she supports photo radar on the Pattullo, as long as the camera is mounted mid-span so traffic getting up to normal speed as it leaves the bridge isn’t tagged.
Coun. Bob Bose also said he would support the initiative, calling it a “no-brainer.”
TransLink spokesperson Ken Hardie said photo radar would be a viable beginning to reducing fatalities on the bridge.
“Fundamentally, from where TransLink staff is concerned, putting photo radar on the bridge is a good idea,” Hardie said Monday. He noted that when traffic is flowing freely, cars are going almost double the speed limit.
A car travelling the posted speed, rather than current speeds, adds about a minute to travel time, Hardie said, noting, “The fact is, it shouldn’t be a huge imposition for people to slow down a little bit.”
Surrey will send a letter to the provincial government requesting installation of photo radar on the Pattullo as soon as possible.

© Copyright 2006 The Tri-City News