City of Edmonton considers disguised photo radar

WATCH ABOVE: The City of Edmonton could be adding to the ways it catches speeders with photo radar. St. Albert uses disguised and hidden radar they say has proven effective and Edmonton is taking notice. Jessica Kent explains.

EDMONTON — The City of Edmonton could be adding to the ways it catches speeders with photo radar. The City of St. Albert uses disguised and hidden radar, putting the cameras in things like old utility boxes. St. Albert officials say it’s proven effective and Edmonton is taking notice.

“The percentage of speeders is declining and violations per hour is declining,” says St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse.

The hidden radar was introduced in 2001 and 3.3 per cent of drivers were caught speeding. Fast forward to 2013 and that number has dropped to 1.2 per cent.

“You can be out in the open with your radar, you can out in the open with red light cameras, or you can be hidden and you’re still going to catch people,” says Crouse.

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St. Albert had no traffic fatalities in 2014, and so far there haven’t been any in 2015. Crouse says the city is a safety leader.

“The number of fatalities on a per capita basis are at a fraction of what they are in other municipalities across Alberta,” Crouse adds.

As of Monday afternoon, there have been 21 traffic fatalities in Edmonton so far this year. That’s compared to 22 in 2014.

“Five, 10 years ago, we used to have 35, 40 fatalities per year,” says Gerry Shimko, executive director of the City of Edmonton’s Office of Traffic Safety.

“So the numbers are going down but it’s not as linear a line as one would hope.”

READ MORE: Number of serious collisions in Edmonton hits 23-year low

Shimko says Edmonton’s radar system is effective, but the number of speeders is getting worse. According to numbers provided to Global News Monday, the city issued nearly 90,000 more tickets in 2014 than it did in 2013.

The City of Edmonton says it is considering disguised radar, and it would be used on busier roads such as 99 Street from Whyte Avenue to Saskatchewan Drive.

“There’s a lot of density there, with limited parking, lots of pedestrians, lots of cyclists, lots of street furniture,” says Shimko. “We have in the past used a similar technology.”

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The new use of radar may be another year or two away, but Shimko says photo radar—both visible and hidden—may be the only way to slow down speeders.

Strathcona County took away its photo radar in 2011.

With files from Jessica Kent, Global News.

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