Saskatchewan

Regina to look at having red light cameras issue tickets for rolling right turns

Regina has red light cameras at four intersections: Albert Street and Saskatchewan Drive, Lewvan Drive and Dewdney Avenue, Albert Street and Parliament Avenue, and Saskatchewan Drive and Albert Street.

City administration and SGI believe the red light camera program improves public safety, report says

Regina city council will discuss whether to have red light cameras start issuing tickets for rolling stops on right turns. (Alexander Quon/CBC)

A report heading to city council on Wednesday could see Regina expand its red light camera program to include tickets for rolling right turns at red lights.

The city has red light cameras at four intersections: Albert Street and Saskatchewan Drive, Lewvan Drive and Dewdney Avenue, Albert Street and Parliament Avenue, and Saskatchewan Drive and Albert Street.

The program began in 1999 and, after receiving multiple upgrades throughout the years, is now using a digital system which was installed in 2018 and started issuing tickets in early 2019.

After three years of data collection and analysis, the conclusion from SGI and city administration is that the system provides a net benefit to the public by preventing severe collisions and reducing collisions in general.

There is opposition to the red light cameras from a small but vocal contingent of people in the city, according to the report. However, city administration believes a quiet majority of Regina's population are either supportive of or ambivalent on the issue.

The report heading to city council recommends taking the following steps: 

  • Continuing the program at the four intersections where red light cameras are currently installed.
  • Expanding the program to include ticketing of all red-light violations, including for rolling right turns.
  • Expanding the program to additional, yet-to-be determined locations.
  • Advocating for the provincial government to change the Traffic Safety Act to allow municipalities to use red light cameras to issue tickets for "speeding on green." That's when vehicles accelerate in an attempt to get though an intersection in order to avoid a red light ticket.

The program as it currently operates costs approximately $370,000 a year.

That includes $316,000 for the lease of the cameras along with operating and maintenance costs, and $54,000 to fund a traffic safety clerk with the Regina Police Service.

The report makes it clear the program doesn't break even, with yearly average revenue between 2019 and 2021 of $129,000 in fines. 

That revenue is used to offset the cost of the program, with the rest covered through fees from the province's automated speed enforcement fund at a yearly average of $241,000. 

Weighing benefit

Councillors are being asked to weigh several factors.

Any new cameras are expected to have operating costs and revenues similar to existing cameras, resulting in a net cost of $43,750 per location per year, according to the report.

City administration says any new fines received due to rolling right turns will be used to offset the cost of the program. However, administration does not believe those fines will generate significantly more revenue.

Under the Traffic Safety Act, tickets issued for violating rules around red lights are $180, with a surcharge of $50, for a total fine of $230. 

The city says it has issued a total of 3,818 red light violation tickets since 2019.

Wednesday's city council meeting is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. CST.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexander Quon is a reporter with CBC Saskatchewan based in Regina. After working in Atlantic Canada for four years he's happy to be back in his home province. He has previously worked with the CBC News investigative unit in Nova Scotia and Global News in Halifax. Alexander specializes in data-reporting, COVID-19 and municipal political coverage. He can be reached at: Alexander.Quon@cbc.ca.

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