Put photo radar on Pattullo, council says

By Kevin Diakiw
Staff Reporter
Apr 12 2006

People speeding over the Pattullo Bridge may soon be ticketed by a photo radar system if Surrey council has its way.
On Monday, Coun. Marvin Hunt asked his colleagues to support mounted cameras that would take photos of speeding cars on the Pattullo Bridge, a span renowned as the most deadly in the province. The motion passed unanimously.
Twenty people have died in car accidents on or near the bridge since 1990, five so far this year.
Hunt says it’s time to slow cars down. Long seen as a “cash cow,” photo radar was eventually discontinued province-wide by the Liberals just after the 2001 election.
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 80 to 90 per cent of all traffic 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.
Enter photo radar.
Former Mayor Doug McCallum threatened to tow any photo radar van that ever set up in this city.
McCallum told The Leader Tuesday he’s always been in favour of the system at high-accident areas, such as intersections.
Hunt agrees.
“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.
“This is an ideal place for it... 24 hours a day – keep them slowed down,” Hunt said.
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’d support the initiative, calling it a “no-brainer.”
TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said it’s a viable beginning to reducing fatalities on the bridge.
“Fundamentally, as far as TransLink staff is concerned, putting photo radar on the bridge is a good idea,” Hardie said Monday. He notes when traffic is flowing freely, cars are going almost double the speed limits.
“The fact is, it shouldn’t be a huge imposition for people to slow down a little bit,” Hardie said.
Surrey will send a letter to Victoria requesting installation as soon as possible.

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