City votes to implement photo radar, saying it's about safety, not money

The city of Hamilton is poised to install photo radar around local schools, despite city staff warning about the cost.

If council ratifies it, the city will set up 2 cameras, but drivers won't be sure where they are

The City of Hamilton is poised to introduce photo radar. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

The city of Hamilton is poised to install photo radar around local schools, despite staff warning about the cost.

City council's public works committee voted Monday for a pilot project that would see two cameras rotated around school zones. The idea, said Coun. Sam Merulla, is there will be about a dozen signs warning of photo radar. Drivers won't know where the cameras are, though, so it will be a deterrent.

City staff estimated that photo radar will cost $2,450,000. If 25,000 tickets are laid at $70 apiece, $1,750,000 of that will be recovered, the report said. The report recommended council hold off on photo radar until the province finishes a review.

But Merulla, who represents Ward 4 (east end), said this isn't about money. Reckless drivers, he said, have made Hamilton streets and sidewalks more dangerous than ever.

"I'm moving forward today, as strongly as possible, because it's never about the cash," he said. "It's always about public safety."

Chad Collins, Ward 5 (Centennial) councillor, agreed that the need is urgent. "It is something I've long awaited."

The report says collision reports for 2017 and 2018 show about half of collisions happened because drivers were speeding and being aggressive. That includes following too closely, speeding and passing improperly.

The city has about 150 school zones. The camera program will require 11 more staff: five court administration clerks, a court reporter, three prosecutors, one prosecution administration clerk and one roadway safety technologist.

City council still has to ratify the decision on Jan. 22.

About the Author

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca


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