Final Say On Red Light Cameras

It is a new term and many new agendas are sure to fill the council chambers at city hall. This new council, which is basically the old council with two new faces, will have the final say on red light cameras.

We have had a noisy election with most of the noise surrounding the KED but one issue that  stole some of the spotlight was an upcoming decision to install red light traffic cameras within the community or not. The cameras, which come with a hefty price tag will be up for final deliberations when the new council reconvenes to discuss the 2019 budget.

Red light cameras have been a controversial issue in other jurisdictions and have been compared to the failed attempt on photo radar. The city doesn’t see it this way and most certainly some of the incumbents fail to also make the connection. During a summer finance committee meeting councillors were informed of the cost of this controversial safety measure and despite the hefty price tag councillors supported the endeavour.

The plan as it stands right now would be to have six intersections with these cameras installed. The operating price tag for the six cameras would be about a half million dollars.

Many of the councillors around the table agreed that this was the best way to deter people from running red lights. Even with the support of councillors, it doesn’t dispute the fact that Greater Sudbury didn’t have a red light running epidemic.

In fact, data that is coming out of the United States shows the complete opposite to these councillors logic. Research has shown that intersections with red light cameras have actually had a spike in traffic accidents.

The Toronto Star reported in 2008 that, “A wider look at all six Ontario municipalities with red-light cameras, including Toronto, showed that fatal and injury crashes dropped by 6.8 per cent while property damage collisions were up 18.5 per cent.”

David Goldstein, a journalist with television KCAL in Los Angeles dug into the facts surrounding his cities claims that their was a reduction in accidents. He stated, “We looked at every red light camera intersection for six months of data before the cameras were installed and six months after. The final figures? 20 of the 32 intersections show accidents up after the cameras were installed. Three remained the same and only nine intersections showed accidents decreasing.”

More of these studies have been done and they can be found here.

Many people have had valid concerns with these cameras. People don’t want to have tickets sent to them for being in a funeral procession or the city issuing tickets to emergency vehicles. The city has assured councillors that those mistakes won’t happen, but can the technology be trusted? We just recently saw with the election fiasco present plenty of problems with “technology” not working as promised.

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