Peterborough County council is being asked Wednesday to have consultants research the implementation of photo radar as part of the county’s transportation master plan update.
Last month, county council directed staff to report back on the feasibility of introducing photo radar along stretches of Highway 28 amid mounting safety concerns brought on by a string of recent fatal collisions.
Photo radar, also known as automated speed enforcement, uses cameras triggered by speed sensors which take photographs of vehicles travelling over the posted speed limit. It can be used in municipally designated school zones and community safety zones.
The technology is intended to be used along with other road safety strategies, such as police enforcement, road calming measures and public education campaigns, according to a staff report that will be presented at Wednesday’s meeting.
Under the county’s transportation master plan review, criteria and policy for identifying school zones and community safety zones are already being assessed. Any recommendations about specific locations of zones will be recommended to council after the transportation master plan process, the report states.
The transportation master plan is expected to be reviewed and presented to council in the spring of next year.
A provincial review of the photo radar program was planned for 2020, but postponed due to COVID-19. Since changes could result from it, county staff are also recommending a report be sent back to council once the provincial review is completed.
Municipalities are responsible for all aspects of their photo radar program, including administration, site selection, installation of cameras and signage, infraction processing and communications.
The report outlines a number of photo radar benefits.
“With speed a factor in approximately one third of fatal collisions in Canada, photo-radar helps enforce speed limits,” the report states.
Photo radar also reminds drivers to slow down in areas where there are children and other vulnerable road users.
Drivers travelling at the posted limit are more able to stop in the case of a spontaneous event and a lower speed can also mean a less severe outcome.
“Evidence shows that driver behaviour begins to change over time with a “halo” effect created,” the report states. “This means drivers may begin to follow the speed limit in areas even where photo-radar is not present, resulting in safer and more peaceful communities for everyone.
County accessibility plan up for approval
County council will have a chance to approve its 2021-26 multi-year accessibility plan when it is presented by staff at its Wednesday meeting.
The plan will set goals for the county to comply with the province’s accessibility legislation in the areas of customer service, communication and information, employment, transportation, and design of public spaces. It also establishes projects for the next five years.
One concern is that the distance between urban areas combined with a lack of transportation can pose considerable barriers to residents and visitors with disabilities in the county, the plan states.
The median age of the 59,853 residents in the county is now 44.1 years old, according to the plan. As the county’s population continues to age, the prevalence of disabilities will increase due to deteriorating health and other factors. Proactively identifying and removing barriers will help the county prepare for the future, the plan states.
The county will review accessibility legislation and the plan when creating new public spaces, making any renovations to county property and when building new infrastructure.
Over the next five years, the plan aims to review the county’s annual capital construction to identify and integrate accessibility requirements while co-ordinating with townships for sidewalk ramp retrofits and the installation of iron tactile places.
Since the plan was introduced in 2013, the County Road 29/Concession Street intersection was constructed to provide a detectable warning, cuts were put in road surfaces to point direction of travel as aid for visually impaired, a county active transportation master plan was developed; a paved road shoulder policy was adopted for county roadways for improved accessibility and a new fully accessible county website was created.
Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.
Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner