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Only speeders should fear photo radar in the Red Hill and Linc: Merulla

Critics of photo radar say it's a cash grab. Sam Merulla says that's fine.

Sam Merulla says drivers following the rules have nothing to fear

(Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Hamilton drivers have nothing to fear with a new plan to try to put photo radar on the Lincoln Alexander and Red Hill Valley parkways, one councillor says. And if they are scared of it, maybe they should slow down.

Sam Merulla dismissed fears that photo radar on the highways would just be a cash grab. "So be it," he said.

"At the end of the day, they don't need to fear anything except the fact that if they're speeding and breaking the law, they have to be held accountable," he said.

"If they stay within the speed limit, there's nothing to fear."

Merulla made the comments after a city council meeting Wednesday night, when councillors voted unanimously to look into the enforcement tool.

Merulla brought the idea forward this week, citing a report showing more than 500 cars per day drive faster than 140 km/h on the Red Hill Valley Parkway. The speed limit is 90.

Provincially, the Bob Rae NDP government tried photo radar in the early 1990s. Conservative Mike Harris campaigned successfully with a promise to eliminate it in the late 90s.

But Merulla and other councillors say opinions have changed, as have people's willingness to speed.

"It seems like everyone in society today is in a mad dash," said Coun. Tom Jackson of Ward 6.

The province would have to approve a photo radar system. Ontario, Merulla said, is currently debating Bill 99, the Safer Roads and Safer Communities Act.

The bill references photo radar, but refers to it as "safety cameras."

City council also ratified a decision to spend $810,000 on short-term fixes to make the highways safer.

Only Lloyd Ferguson, an Ancaster councillor, was hesitant about photo radar this week.

"It's a public safety issue and I support that," he said. "I'm divided on it."

samantha.craggs@cbc.ca | @SamCraggsCBC

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