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(Updated 11:30 a.m., May 11)
City council approves photo radar for school zones

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Ottawa city council has approved the use of photo radar, but only in school zones and only as a pilot project.

The motion was introduced by River Ward Coun. Riley Brockington who wanted the city to have the option of using photo radar as a traffic calming measure on streets that have a chronic and ongoing problem with speeders such as Meadowlands Drive in the west end and Princess Louise Drive, Bottriel Way and Viseneau Drive in the east end.

Brockington’s motion had to be restricted to school zones in order to secure the support of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson who is against the general use of photo radar on city streets.

The pilot project must still get approved by the province which has the ultimate authority to okay the use of photo radar
by municipalities. In this case, Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi has already voiced his support for the pilot project.

But support for photo radar is by no means unanimous. Detractors warn that the school zone pilot protect will merely open the door to broader use in the future, and that photo radar is nothing more than a “cash grab”.

That is not Brockington’s intent, however.

“My intent has never been a cash grab,” says the River Ward Coun. “Meadowlands is (just) one example of hundreds of streets across the city, which is a residential street on both sides, where speeding is a chronic, pervasive issue. And we can’t have the police on that street because there are hundreds of Meadow-lands in this city and (the city) has limited resource."

Watson defended his softening on his early position against photo radar in a letter to committee members.

“I believe this is a solid way forward for those who are hesitant about a wide-scale rollout of photo radar on streets where it may not be warranted; or for those who are concerned with the tool being used as a limitless revenue generating measure,” wrote Watson who also supported an amendment to Brocking-ton’s motion directing proceeds generated by photo radar to go into road safety projects.

Besides the pilot project, city council also voted to lower the speed limit on residential streets from 50km/hr to 40km/hr where its not otherwise posted.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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