Fewer drivers on Edmonton streets but they're speeding more than before, city says
The city has noticed a significant increase in traffic patterns since March 16
There aren't as many cars on the streets of Edmonton these days. But they're definitely going faster, according to city statistics.
Data from the past week shows that there are 30 per cent fewer vehicles on the roads, according to a Thursday news release.
But in the same period, the city logged approximately 14,500 speeding violations through automated enforcement during the week of March 16 — 2,500 more than the week before, said Jessica Lamarre, the city's acting director of traffic safety.
The city has seen a 30 per cent increase in motorists exceeding the speed limit by 20 km/h, and a whopping 200 per cent increase in drivers travelling at more than 50 km/h over the speed limit, she said.
"In particular we're seeing some of these more extreme behaviours on some of our larger roads like the Henday, Whitemud and Yellowhead," Lamarre said in an interview with CBC News.
The city did not provide an exact number of violations in the 20 km/h over and 50 km/h over categories.
To curb speeding, the city says it is placing mobile speed enforcement vehicles, such as photo radar trucks, in high priority locations to remind drivers to slow down.
Locations that have seen an increase in speeding will be prioritized, the city said.
Lamarre said the city is not adding more photo radar vehicles but is readjusting its existing schedule to respond to what it sees happening on the road.
On Wednesday, the city also reiterated that playground zone speed limits of 30 km per hour still apply, even if playgrounds and schools are closed.
Officers still patrolling roads
Sgt. Kerry Bates with the Edmonton Police Service traffic division said officers are seeing more "high flyers" — drivers going 40 km/h or more over the limit — on the roads.
But Bates said that could be attributed to the dry roadways and lighter traffic.
"I wouldn't take it that because of the COVID-19 situation happening that there's no police to do traffic enforcement, because there definitely is and they're keeping up with that enforcement," Bates said.
He's asking drivers to watch their speed and avoid going over the limit.
"It reduces your available reaction time. It reduces stopping distance," he said. "It just adds to a more serious outcome when there is a collision."
With files from CBC’s Natasha Riebe