Posts Tagged ‘radar’

Keeping Watch on SpeedWatch

December 23, 2007

Acc. to the Mayor of the City of Pickering, “We’ve been looking at technologies, this one [a new integrated, solar-powered LED radar board] is very cost-effective and low maintenance and I think it will work well” (‘Pickering cracks down with high-tech radar‘; Toronto 24 Hrs; 2007/12/23).

The solar-powered boards “can run for up to three days before recharging and require zero electricity” and the Pickering project’s [startup?] cost was reported to have been $15,000.

Although Mike Pelzowski (Coordinator, Traffic Operations; City of Pickering) didn’t provide any financial detail in his 2007/12/27 email to me, he did identify that the manufacturer of the radar board is Dorman Varitext.

This is interesting… Pickering has something it calls a Neighbourhood Traffic Watch Program. Residents use a speed display board to “track and record all vehicles traveling in excess of 10 km/hr above the maximum speed limit…for a minimum of two hours a day for a consecutive five day period.”

photoIt’s been almost 2 years since Sgt. Tom O’Brien told me that LPS only had a single SpeedWatch trailer to deploy, so I thought that this would be a good time to revisit the file. I’ve sent the Sgt. an info request and I’ll update this post for you if I get a reply.

Appended 2008/08/20: No reply so far 😦

Safer Streets in Nova Scotia

November 24, 2007

Nova Scotia’s Transportation Minister, Murray Scott, has introduced amendments to that province’s Motor Vehicle Act that appear to hold a promise of increased safety for pedestrians.

An 18-month pilot program would allow police to install photo-radar cameras capable of nabbing speeders and red light runners.

Another provision would ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving.

Drivers who fail to yield for pedestrians at crosswalks would see a doubling of fines: $500 for a first offence, $1,000 for a second and $2,000 for a third.

Can you hear me applauding?

Links:
2007/11/15 – CBC: Ban cell phones (audio)
2007/11/24 – Globe & Mail: N.S. government to make streets safer

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Technology Exists; Political Leadership Is Absent

September 10, 2007

Surveillance cameras at major intersections dramatically reduce the number of drivers who barrel through red lights, two new research reports say.” In “Research: Red-light cameras work“, Larry Copeland (USA TODAY) attributes a senior transportation safety engineer as saying that “There’s a dramatic change in driver behavior when red light cameras are used.”

In her latest column (“Another useful tool to stop those speeding drivers“; The Londoner), Sheryl Rooth describes a walk to the grocery store: “…The light at this particular corner gives you 27 seconds to cross Oxford – that’s if you cross at the very moment the light turns green. The second you put your foot on the alternate curb the light has changed and cars are screaming through the intersection. While crossing to the store I had to wait for five cars on either side of the road to run the red light, including one turning left because it had waited too long in the intersection. An hour later walking back, no less than seven cars ran the red light, mostly because they were driving too quickly but some likely because they couldn’t be bothered to wait 27 seconds. It’s an epidemic plain and simple…” It’s a great article. Click on the link and read the whole thing.

In another great read (“The Benefits of Photo Radar“; London Free Press Letters; 2007/09/08), Gary Betts argues that: “photo radar does make money, but don’t hold that against it. Photo radar is the most effective speed-control device in the world.”

Although I’m in favour of photo radar, and would like to see it’s return, I can’t quite agree with Gary’s last statement. And because our local daily so seldom publishes anything I send it, I’ll post a copy of my latest submission to them here:

[submitted using LFP website form]

With respect to Gary Betts’ fine letter (“The Benefits of Photo Radar”; London Free Press; 2007/09/08).

We have the technology to regulate speed using microchips. Last month the Toronto Star reported that the Ontario government has decided to require a “speed limiter” on all large commercial vehicles to keep their speed at or below 105 km/h. Why stop there? Why not require ALL vehicles to have speed-limiting chips installed? And regulate speeds within cities in addition to on the highways? Solutions exist, it’s the political will that’s absent.

Any thoughts?

Links:
2007/07/03 – specthread: Will photo radar make roads safer?

Enforcement, not Posturing

January 23, 2006

Project SpeedwatchThe Speedwatch radar trailer is deployed by officers from the Auxiliary Police Section in various areas of the City where chronic speeding violations have been reported. By informing the motoring public of both their current speed and the posted speed limit, the Speedwatch sign is both a public education program and a deterrent.

Despite all of the concerns that I have expressed about pedestrian safety along this stretch of Commissioners Road East, there has been no noticeable response from London Police Services. With one exception. When a 12-year-old C. C. Carrothers public school pupil was struck while crossing the Commissioners & Pond Mills intersection in early November, Sgt. Tom O’Brien appeared on A-Channel, standing beside the Speedwatch trailer that had been quickly located at Commissioners & King Edward. Speedwatch was then removed, almost as soon as the tv cameras were turned off. And it hasn’t been back again since then.

But according to Sgt. Tom O’Brien, “The London Police Service has one Speedwatch trailer. It is utilized throughout the entire city dependant upon weather conditions and personnel availability.”

So, am I being unfair to police? I remain steadfast in my belief that there is a serious lack of enforcement in London and that pedestrians are consequently being put at unnecessary risk. But who’s to blame? Police, for not buying/using more of these trailers? Or City Hall, for underfunding police so much that they can’t afford the equipment and/or personnel?