Province slows city's photo radar plan

The arrival of photo radar cameras near a dozen Ottawa schools is facing a delay after the province demanded the city first post warning signs for 90 days, the transportation committee heard Wednesday.

That means instead of rolling out the pilot project later this month, the city won't be able to install the cameras until the spring, Phil Landry, the city's director of traffic services, told the committee.

The city plans to install the cameras at the following locations:

  • Watters Road, near St. Francis of Assisi School.

  • Longfields Drive, near École élémentaire catholique Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau, St. Mother Teresa High School and Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School.

  • Bayshore Drive, near St. Rose of Lima School.

  • Meadowlands Drive W., near St. Gregory School.

  • Ogilvie Road, near Gloucester High School.

  • Smyth Road, near Vincent Massey Public School, Hillcrest High School and École secondaire catholique Franco-Cité.

  • Innes Road, near École secondaire catholique Béatrice-Desloges.

  • Katimavik Road, near Holy Trinity Catholic High School.

According to city staff, the province has yet to even approve a design for the signs that will warn drivers photo radar is coming.

That also means a delay for any revenue generated by the cameras — money the city plans to invest in road safety as part of an action plan approved by the committee Wednesday.

'Out of the blue': Committee chair

Although the previous Liberal government passed legislation to allow municipalities to use photo radar in so-called community safety zones, cities couldn't move ahead until the province approved regulations.

Robson Fletcher/CBC
Robson Fletcher/CBC

The Progressive Conservative government gave them the green light just late last week, after conducting more consultations with the public, and is mandating large signs in English and French that must read: "Municipal Speed Camera In Use."

Before those signs go in, the province has told the city it must erect different signs at its own expense that warn drivers photo radar is on the way.

"It came out of the blue," committee chair Coun. Stephen Blais told reporters after Wednesday's meeting.

"There are elements within the provincial government that are reconsidering whether not photo radar should be allowed," said Blais, when asked if he believed the demands were ideologically based.

"And this is perhaps one of the ways that they're going to use to try to justify that change in approach."

Blais fears the 90-day warning period may reduce the effectiveness of photo radar to limit speeding — or to pay for itself.