New photo radar cameras nab more than 10,000 speeders in 18 days
'Dangerous behaviour' especially worrisome as kids head back to school, mayor says
Ottawa's four new photo radar cameras caught more than 10,000 speeding drivers in the act in just 18 days this July, many of them near schools.
Mayor Jim Watson shared the first data from the city's new automatic ticketing system during Wednesday's council meeting, as he underscored the importance of keeping roads safe as children head back to school.
There are two permanent cameras and two that rotate among eight school or community safety zones. Between July 13 — their first official day in operation — and July 31, the four cameras caught 10,771 speeders.
The worst culprit was caught driving 89 km/h in a 40 km/h zone on Meadowlands Drive near St. Gregory School, Watson said.
"I hope this shines a light on how seriously we have to take road safety in our school zones and how essential this speed radar will be in addressing some of the dangerous behaviour," he said.
Watson also had a message for those who consider photo radar a "cash grab," reminding them that all fines collected go back into road safety projects such as pedestrian signals.
Councillors have been hearing from residents concerned they're seeing more traffic than usual in school zones this September, as more parents choose to drop off their children rather than risk a ride on a school bus, some of which haven't started running yet.
Transportation general manager John Manconi said the city has been expecting that increased traffic and has worked all summer with school boards to manage the situation.
There are more police and inspectors out, and the city can erect barricades if need be to manage traffic, he said.
Manconi said he'll be watching to see how this year's staggered back-to-school start goes. "I think that's when all the issues will come to bear," he said.