Winnipeg mayoral candidate Gord Steeves is proposing an overhaul of how photo radar tickets are handed out, particularly at road construction zones, but the Manitoba government says the city has no jurisdiction to change laws related to speed limits in those areas.
Steeves said traffic enforcement should be about promoting safety and fairness, not about generating revenue for the city.
"I want a system that Winnipeggers have confidence in, not a system that raises suspicion about its true purpose; a system that exists for safety reasons, not for revenue reasons," he told reporters on Wednesday near a construction zone on Kenaston Boulevard.
Steeves said if he's elected mayor in the Oct. 22 election, he would implement a policy requiring signs to be posted at all construction sites, clearly indicating that photo radar is present.
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He said reader boards would be placed at construction zones indicating a driver's speed along with the speed limit, and he would require signage that would clearly indicate where the lowered speed limit ends.
Steeves also said he would introduce two types of fines — one for when construction workers are present, and a much lower fine for when workers are not there.
"We should not be ticketing people for putting a worker's life in danger when the site has been abandoned for a week," he said, adding that a fine of $200 or $300 would be enough of a deterrent.
"A $750 ticket for going nine miles an hour too fast in a construction zone can be devastating, especially if the area is not marked or there is no workers present," he added.
Starting in May, the Manitoba government doubled fines for speeding in designated construction zones and made it mandatory for drivers to obey lower speed limits in those zones regardless of whether workers are present or not.
And it doesn't appear the province would agree to Steeves's plan if he is elected.
A Manitoba government spokesperson told CBC News the legislation — which applies across the province, not just in Winnipeg — ensures that drivers comply with posted speed limits before they see any construction workers.
"Workers are not always immediately visible to drivers approaching a construction zone. That’s why speed limits must be followed in construction zones at all times," the spokesperson said in an email.
Wise Up Winnipeg, a group that fights photo radar enforcement, has said drivers are often at a disadvantage because construction zones don't always have signage indicating where they end.