By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
Drivers will need to be even more mindful at red lights as the region is looking at installing cameras throughout Durham.
Steve Kemp, manager of traffic engineering and operations, gave a presentation to the works committee detailing the future of red light cameras and automated speed enforcement in Durham.
He noted while red light cameras have been in Ontario for the past 20 years, they have yet to come to Durham.
He also adds automated speed enforcement is a new idea.
According to Kemp, the red light cameras will take two photos. The first will be when the vehicle is behind the painted white line, and the second after the vehicle has passed that line.
Kemp says this will make it clear whether a vehicle has run a red light.
“We want people to know where they are – we just want them to stop,” he said.
According to provincial legislation, drivers must made aware an intersection has red camera lights.
There are 12 proposed sites for red light cameras, with four located at Oshawa intersections.
Cameras are proposed on Ritson Road at Bond Street, Stevenson Road and King Street, Simcoe Street and Conlin Road, and Simcoe Street and Rossland Road.
Automated speed enforcement, also know also photo radar, captures the speed of a vehicle through a camera.
Intersections with automated speed enforcement also need to have signs declaring their presence.
Kemp says the region will use both fixed location devices, and mobile devices which will move periodically.
To decide where the devices will be located, Kemp said staff analyzed intersections all around the region, and tallied the number of red light violations.
Kemp believes the automated speed enforcement devices will reduce crashes where they’re installed.
He hopes the installation of these devices will change behaviour region-wide, not just at the intersections with the cameras and the automated speed enforcement devices.
There will be 22 locations with automated speed enforcement in Durham, with plans to eventually add more.
Many of these devices will be located around schools, with seven of them in Oshawa.
Kemp explained the region is doing this now because aggressive driving has become a major concern.
“The public is starting to ask us for this type of enforcement,” he added.
He also noted traditional resources are limited., and while he believes Durham police are doing a good job, it is a challenge for them to be everywhere all at once.
Ward 2 regional councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri applauded the idea, saying it’s a long time coming.
However, he notes it is expensive, with the works department providing $800,000 for the red light cameras over a two-year period, and $500,000 for the automated speed enforcement over a five-year period.
The region’s legal department will also be providing $350,000 to each program.
He explained he wants the project to be taken seriously, and he wants to make sure people don’t see it as a “cash grab.”
In response, Kemp said in other municipalities the money received from driving fines typically has covered the costs of the programs.
“People committing the offenses are paying for the equipment that are generating the offenses,” he explained.
Ward 1 regional councillor John Neal questioned if drivers would still have their fines increased in school zones, to which Kemp said fines would be doubled.
“We want people to slow down, and we want people to stop running red lights,” said Kemp.
After receiving unanimous support from the works committee, the project now heads to regional council for approval.