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Red cameras, photo radar officially in Durham Region

Speed enforcement placed at 34 intersections

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

It’s official – red light cameras have come to Durham Region.

As previously reported by The Oshawa Express, the cameras will be installed at 12 intersections across Durham, including four in Oshawa.

The four Oshawa locations include Ritson Road at Bond Street, Stevenson Road and King Street, Simcoe Street and Conlin Road, and Simcoe and Rossland roads.

There will also be 22 photo radar locations in Durham, with seven in Oshawa.

The red light cameras will take two photos – the first will be while the vehicle is behind the white painted line, and the second after it has passed the line.

Photo radar equipment will capture the speed of a vehicle through its camera.

The region will use both fixed location and mobile devices.

Those mobile devices will be moved between locations periodically.

But before council approved the red light camera and photo radar pilot project, several councillors had questions for staff.

Ajax councillor Marilyn Crawford wondered how much of the road the red light cameras cover.

Ramesh Jagannathan, Durham’s director of transportation and field services, told council the cameras will cover two lanes, but won’t include right turn lanes.

Ajax Mayor Shaun Collier wondered when they might expand the project, as he’d like to see red light cameras at 15 or 20 more locations around Durham.

Jagannathan said it will be approximately two years before staff looks to expand the program.

“That’s when you have performance measures for what we’ve installed in place,” he explained.

Oshawa’s Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson was skeptical of the entire process, questioning the logic of only taking photos in one direction at an intersection.

Nicholson also said he doesn’t believe the program will pull in enough revenue to pay for itself.

“I don’t think it’s going to make money because our level of red light running in Durham is not that bad,” said Nicholson.

He also asked if the region had worked with other municipalities to determine whether this project was viable, with Jagannathan confirming Durham had not consulted with lower-tier municipalities using the cameras.

But he did note the region had hired a consultant who had worked with other     jurisdictions across Ontario on similar projects, most of which have been successful.

“Most of the jurisdictions are achieving new revenue from the programs,” said Jagannathan.

Nicholson remained doubtful however, claiming Jagannathan never gave a direct answer to his question.

He wanted to know where the revenue is going, and who gets it.

“It seems like everybody is getting the money except the taxpayers,” he said.

Jagannathan said staff are having internal discussions about where the money will go.

“In every other jurisdiction… they’ve all made considerable money, and they’ve used that money to enhance the program… why we would not use the funds… to fund the program?” asked Nicholson.

Jagannathan again reiterated money received from violators will go towards the program.

According to Jagannathan, after repeated questioning by Nicholson, the project will cost approximately $100,000 per intersection, at total cost of $1.2 million.

Finally, Nicholson wondered if the introduction of the cameras would impact manual enforcement in other areas.

Jagannathan believes with the introduction of red light cameras and photo radar, Durham Regional Police would be able to reevaluate its deployment strategy, resulting in better enforcement in problem areas around the region.