Watch above: The City of Saskatoon collected over $1.2 million in 2014 from red light camera tickets, a huge increase from the year before. Meaghan Craig looks at whether the number of tickets is resulting in a decrease in collisions.
SASKATOON – Red light cameras. Love them or hate them, they appear to be working.
“The most prominent decrease was at the intersection of Preston Avenue and 8th Street which saw a decrease of 45 per cent of right-angle collisions so that’s fairly significant given that the right-angle collisions are the most serious type of collisions that we’re seeing,” said Angela Gardiner, director of transportation for the City of Saskatoon, who presented collision statistics on Tuesday at a city committee meeting.
Right-angle collisions are also known as T-bone collisions. A reduction in these has meant a decline in injuries and fatality rates at the four locations where red light cameras are currently installed:
- Preston Avenue & 8th Street
- 51st Street & Warman Drive
- Avenue C North & Circle Drive
- 33rd Street & Idylwyld Drive
“I think they have accomplished exactly what they were intended to do,” said Ward 1 Coun. Darren Hill.
Ward 6 Coun. Charlie Clark also asked the city to mine it’s data to see how many pedestrian collisions are also occurring at these intersections.
“I think we always have to be measuring. Is this achieving the goals that have been identified?”
During the meeting, both councillors also agreed that to drive home the message of safety to motorists, immediate enforcement is crucial as opposed to getting the ticket in the mail five months later.
“With the transitions to the new system last year we did some significant delays in issuing the tickets, processing and issuing the tickets,” explained Gardiner.
For those caught red handed at a light, the average processing and issuing time now is about two weeks.
Gardiner also unveiled the revenue generated by red light tickets last year, $1,185,749 in 2014 up from $454,658 in 2013.
“Starting in 2010, we started to see a significant decrease in the number of violations we were able to issue. There were problems with the systems not being able to properly capture the violations and we saw a steady reduction in the number of tickets issued up until the systems were replaced in 2013.”
That was at the end of 2013, explained Gardiner, when all the systems were replaced and a fourth system installed.
“The increase that we’re seeing in 2014 is really reflective of a new system and an additional location.”
Gardiner also maintains that the red light cameras are not a cash grab.
“These systems are really just enforcing the laws that we have.”
“We always have to make sure that it is increasing safety that’s why reviewing Warman and 51st is worthwhile and that the revenue is a secondary issue. So in the end I think we need to proceed because we are seeing those benefits,” said Clark.
Administration has recommended that in light of a surplus in revenue, $100,000 be allocated to enhance pedestrian safety at four locations throughout the city:
- Lenore Drive & La Loche Road
- Clarence Avenue & 11th Street
- Avenue B & 29th Street
- Boychuk Drive and Laurentian Drive
At this time, city officials confirm there are no additional red light cameras in the works. If you run a red light and a camera catches you, be prepared to pay a $230 fine.