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Published on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Oakville opens door to photo radar program

Last year's Safer School Zones Act lets municipalities use photo radar in school zones

Oakville opens door to photo radar program
(STEVE RUSSELL / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)
Speeding in school zones has neighbours up in arms all over the GTA
By DAVID LEA, Oakville Beaver

The town has taken another step toward bringing photo radar to Oakville.

The community services committee voted on March 26 to receive a staff report on automated speed enforcement (photo radar) and directed staff to work with other Ontario municipalities and the Ontario Traffic Council to develop a photo radar program.

On May 30, 2017, the province passed Bill 65, the Safer School Zones Act, which permits municipalities to use photo radar to address traffic safety issues at designated school zones and community safety zones.

Town staff noted that despite traffic calming initiatives and other measures, speeding in school zones continues to be a common concern raised by parents and residents.

“I think we can all agree speeding seems to be the No. 1 traffic issue everywhere. It doesn’t matter what ward you are in.”

“I think we can all agree speeding seems to be the No. 1 traffic issue everywhere,” said Ward 4 Councillor Allan Elgar. “It doesn’t matter what ward you are in.”

As a result, the town is making preparations for the day photo radar equipment is available. That day is expected to be some time in late 2019.

The legislation also allows photo radar to be used in locations council designates as community safety zones.

These roadways must be under the town’s jurisdiction, have speed limits under 80 km/h and be a place where, in council’s opinion, public safety is of special concern.

Oakville has seven community safety zones. It is unclear at this time if any or all of these locations will be selected as photo radar sites.

It is also unclear how many devices the town will seek to acquire, if all school zones will be designated photo radar sites or if a few devices will be moved from site to site as needed.

Questions concerning how tickets would be issued will also be answered later in the process.

The committee also voted to have town staff investigate the feasibility of having photo radar payment challenges dealt with through an administrative monetary penalties system (AMPS) instead of through the courts.

Town staff noted time is at a premium at the courts and argued the AMPS, which the town uses to resolve parking and licensing violations, would work better.

This report will come before Oakville council for approval on April 3.

Followup reports will look at photo radar locations, penalties, hardware and more.

Photo radar was previously launched by Ontario’s NDP government in 1994, but was extremely unpopular and was scrapped by the Mike Harris Progressive Conservatives in 1995.

Critics argued photo radar was nothing but a “cash cow” for the province that did little to improve safety.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

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