Are Red Hill, Lincoln Alexander parkways eligible to be safety zones to allow photo radar?
Hamilton politicians agreed to designate the Lincoln Alexander and Red Hill parkways as “community safety zones” so the municipality can use photo radar devices.
Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla, who introduced the motion at the Nov. 14 public works committee, said there are “thousands” of school children being bussed to and from Bishop Ryan High School along the Red Hill Parkway. By installing photo radar devices, it will protect those school children riding in buses along the Red Hill Parkway and Lincoln Alexander Parkway, he said.
“We are ensuring the safety of school children,” he said.
Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca in a letter earlier this summer denied Hamilton’s request to implement photo radar on the Red Hill and Lincoln Alexander parkways. Hamilton made the request after a series of serious accidents along the Red Hill Parkway and a city study that linked the number of collisions and the high rate of speed vehicles are travelling along the roadways.
Photo radar was introduced by the Bob Rae New Democrats in 1994, but less than a year later the Mike Harris Tories scrapped the program after the public called it a cash grab.
It’s estimated that a photo radar devise costs upwards of $100,000.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne recently announced the province will allow municipalities to install safety cameras near schools and “community safety zones” to prevent speeding and protect pedestrians.
Besides schools, other community safety zones would include day cares and senior citizen residences.
Hamilton doesn’t have any community safety zones. A 2001 report from city staff recommended against installing them.
The province will allow municipalities to take photos of speeders’ license plates and issue them a ticket, allowing all the revenue going to the municipality. In addition, municipalities will be able to reduce the speed limit below the 50km/h posted speed limit to decrease collisions and to install additional red-light cameras.
The Ontario government’s decision was prompted by Toronto Mayor John Tory requesting the premier last February consider photo radar within community safety zones.
A study released by York University and the Hospital for Sick Children stated that the most dangerous part of a child’s day was during the morning drop off period.
Martin White, the city’s traffic operations manager, said implementing photo radar for community safety zones will be difficult. He said Hamilton was already in talks with Ottawa and Toronto to pitch a pilot partnership to the province to use photo radar.
The province’s decision though, said White, “surprised us.”
“We are reviewing the entire process,” said White. “We need time to put it together.”
Hamilton has already approved spending about $800,000 to install bigger speed limit signs and improved highway markings, along with other safety upgrades along the Red Hill Parkway and Linc.
Courtesy: Kevin Werner is a Regional Reporter for Hamilton Community News (Ancaster News, Dundas Star News, Mountain News and Stoney Creek News). He can be reached at [email protected]