March 7, 2019 5:38 pm
Updated: March 8, 2019 2:33 pm

Making the case for red light cameras in Kingston

They've been shown to reduce frequency of red light running, but when will Kingston adopt this technology?

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In 2014 the City of Kingston was primed to install 10 red light cameras at the city’s most dangerous intersections. But after a new council was voted in, they decided to defer the decision until after Vision Zero, a road safety study, was completed.

“That road safety plan is now nearing completion, so there will be another opportunity for us to look at red light cameras. Likely sometime in the next year or two,” Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson said.

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Part of the reason the cameras were deferred included concerns over privacy issues raised by some residents and councillors — some of whom wondered if the red light cameras were a cash-grab by the city.

But many city officials agree — they make roads safer.

“Red light cameras have been around since the year 2000,” said Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely. “I think there’s a lot of data that can be used to justify the use of them.”   

Deanna Green, Kingston’s traffic manager, added that other municipalities she has been in contact with report their instances of running red lights have reduced by half. 

Statistics like those are what keeps Green interested in the technology making its way to Kingston. 

“We determined that on average there are at least five incidents per day per location,” Green said of red light running in Kingston. “And some of the locations are much greater than that.”

Even councillors who were against it back then, like Mary Rita Holland, are looking at red light cameras differently than they did the last time it was debated at City Hall.

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“My mind has been changing on this issue, and it really is because of the fact that we heard so much from the public during the last campaign,” Holland said. “Campaigning four years prior, I did hear concerns about traffic, but not to the same extent.”  

Council would need to direct staff to look into red light cameras again within the next year if they don’t want to miss the deadline to get cameras installed by 2022.

A further delay could push the next opportunity for the cameras to 2027.

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