Canada 12th Dec 2011
As efforts to snare speeders with photo radar near a highly contentious city intersection continued Tuesday, a Winnipeg councillor restated his belief the city should look at scrapping the photo radar program outright.
Coun. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) says he’s been following “with interest” reports on the use of photo radar just west of Grant Avenue and Nathaniel Street.
A large number of people mailed tickets from the area — including staff at nearby Grant Park High School — say they were issued in error, possibly due to the positioning of the radar car.
Fielding said the large number of complaints emerging could be considered “compelling,” but added he would wait for police to act on a public pledge to demonstrate the equipment is functioning correctly.
Fielding said he believes putting more cops on the street would be more beneficial for public safety than photo radar.
“It’s about a style of policing and I think that would make more sense,” he said. “(Photo radar) doesn’t do anything in terms of driver improvement. It doesn’t do anything about catching other criminals.”
Fielding said the city’s contract with ACS Public Sector Solutions — the contracted provider of photo-radar services — expires in roughly two years and the entire program should be reviewed at that point.
The safety benefits of photo radar often touted by its proponents aren’t matched by the data, Fielding said. “At the end of the day I think it ends up being some sort of a wash,” he said.
Todd Dube, founder of photo-radar watchdog group Wise Up Winnipeg, told the Winnipeg Sun on Tuesday he’s so far received as many as 500 complaint calls about enforcement tactics at Grant and Nathaniel.
He said the practice of placing a mobile radar car on a service road 46 feet from the main road creates the possibility for “unreliable speed reflections.”
Winnipeg police say they have conducted tests and found no issues. That testing is ongoing, a spokesman said yesterday.
“We continue to confirm that everything that should be operating and functioning as it should be in that particular area with regards to photo enforcement is doing so,” Const. Jason Michalyshen said.
Dube also took aim at police statements in media reports that photo radar had long been used at the now-controversial site.
A list of all mobile photo-radar sites in Winnipeg Wise Up recently obtained through an access to information request proves otherwise, Dube said. As of mid-May, Grant and Nathaniel was not listed an enforcement zone, the list states.
Dube alleged police committed “willful misrepresentation” by saying otherwise.