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Council could be taking a look at installing red light cameras in Guelph

Coun. Cathy Downer wants city to look further into red light cameras and has the backing of Guelph Police chief
20180116 red light traffic camera AdobeStock_57630919
Red light traffic camera. Village Media file photo

The city may end up taking a look at installing a red light traffic camera at some Guelph intersections in the future.

Ward 5 councillor Cathy Downer as already received support from Guelph Police Chief Jeff DeRuyter for installing them in the city and has contacted city staff for historical background, technical elements and costing.

Downer will speak to the matter at the May 7 meeting of council’s committee of the whole.

"It's something to explore," Downer said in an interview. "Let's just explore and see what intersections it might work at."

She is recommending council instruct city staff, in consultation police, to investigate the process to implement red light cameras.

Capital and operational costs, a public communications plan and a recommendation based on a review and assessment of intersection collisions would all be looked at.

Staff would report back to council early next year.

"I've had a lot of people mention it to me this term. 'Why don't we have them in Guelph?'" Downer said.

"They seem to change people's behaviour. Just having them there seems to make a difference," particularly in serious accidents that cause injury and death, she said.

Allister McIlveen, the city’s Manager of Transportation Services, said in correspondence with Downer that “the use of red light cameras and other camera programs are not in our immediate plan, and would require a full review of all factors before being considered for implementation.”

McIlveen said the issue of installing red light cameras in Guelph was discussed in 1999, when the city chose not to take part in a provincial pilot project.

McIlveen said a red light camera system costs approximately $100,000, with an annual operating budget of $25,000 to $30,000.

Once system is typically rotated through a number of intersections, he said.

The fine for a conviction of running a red light is $325 plus a $60 victim surcharge. The city would receive $260 for each ticket.

Police Chief DeRuyter has given his support. 

"On behalf of the Guelph Police Service, I support the recommendation to explore the use of red light cameras to enhance our existing road safety," wrote DeRuyter to Downer.

"The Guelph Police Service will provide assistance and support to City of Guelph staff in assessing the feasibility of the introduction of red light cameras to our community."

Municipalities that have red light cameras include Waterloo, Hamilton, Toronto, Peel, Halton, London, Brantford, Ottawa, Sudbury, York and Kingston.

The Region of Waterloo reports that its red light program has reduced angle collisions caused by disobeying traffic control by 27 per cent and turning collisions caused by disobeying traffic control by 60 per cent. But it says it has increased rear-end collisions by 23 per cent.

The City of Toronto reports that collisions resulting in deaths and personal injuries have been reduced by more than 25 per cent and those resulting in property damage are down almost 18 per cent as a result of red light camera enforcement.