Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff The intersection at Gaetz Avenue and 67th St. in Red Deer has a red-light camera and may soon have a speed-on-green camera added.

Dialogue on speed-on-green non-existent before Red Deer council approved it

Tickets could start being issued as early as April

If you didn’t know anything about it, you’re not alone.

Red Deer city council approved using speed-on-green technology during its budget deliberations last week. Prior to that there had been no public discussion about the move to generate more revenue through the city’s photo-radar cameras.

Councillors Dianne Wyntjes and Buck Buchanan voted against speed-on-green.

“I just think we could have done so much better having dialogue and education prior to taking the step,” Wyntjes said.

The first time she was aware speed-on-green was being proposed was when she received the budget documents.

Wyntjes said she learned a lot from the major controversy over bike lanes several years ago. “Before you go down the road it’s really important to dialogue and have some conversations to get different perspectives from the community.”

“I really support safe streets … but what disturbs me is where did this come from? In our strategic plan we talk about dialogue and I think for the most part we’ve been really good on that, engaging the community, asking the questions.”

“We need to be transparent on our road safety, and for speed-on-green, we’re not having the dialogue with our community.

“If we commit ourselves to dialogue we cannot pick and choose.”

A public education campaign will run for three months before the cameras start operating. A one-month grace period will follow where tickets will be sent out but speeders won’t be fined.

The city’s red-light photo radar equipment is already equipped to use speed-on-green technology. The cameras will catch drivers who speed through green or amber lights at 10 high-risk intersections where red-light photo radar is used. At any given time there would be a maximum of four locations operational.

A recent test detected 400 intersection speeders in five days in Red Deer. In 2013, a busy intersection in Calgary, at 16th Avenue and 10th Street, saw 28,593 speed-on-green tickets issued.

City of Red Deer administration is being very conservative about estimating the amount of revenue anticipated because it got caught in the past projecting red-light photo radar revenue that was continually falling short of budget projections. The speed-on-green projection is for $350,000 in revenue and $100,000 in costs.

Speed-on-green will be implemented by April or May. The argument for it by the city is that it will make intersections safer, especially for pedestrians. Opponents say it’s just a cash cow, while others say it only changes driving behaviour at certain intersections.

When people start receiving tickets they’ll go: “What is this?” said Wyntjes.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

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