Posts Tagged ‘speed cameras’

Are Speed Limits Artificially Low in Calgary?

The Calgary Police Service has release updated traffic statistics regarding its Intersection Safety Camera program (Red light and Speed on Green cameras). In 2011 a total of 116,322 tickets were issued, 99,258 for speeding and 17,064 for running the red light. The cameras monitor the streets 24 hours a day, 365 days a year snapping away generating revenue every 20 seconds. Sure beats hiring, training and deploying actual officers on the streets!

26,107 speeding tickets were issued at EB 16 Ave & 10 St alone where the speed limit is 50km/h. That works out to 71 tickets a day. This sounds a bit excessive, and I imagine the City of Calgary traffic department as well as the Calgary Police expected this intersection would be brought up when they released the statistics.

“When we put this in perspective in the number of vehicles that travel through the intersection, what that says to us is the equipment is working as it’s designed to work,” said Insp. Michael Watterston, the head of Calgary’s Traffic Unit.

“We have a small percentage of motorists that speed through that intersection or fail to stop for that red light, so in that sense, generally, people are obeying the speed limit, the traffic light cycle, so that’s comforting.”

In 2011, a total of 5.8 million vehicles went through the intersection which means less than 1% of those were speeding or ran the red light, pretty good right? Not exactly. It really depends on what angle you want to look at the numbers. While Insp. Watterston uses the the term “motorists” a more accurate term would be ‘vehicle trips”. 1% of the vehicle trips at the intersection in question resulted in a ticket being issued but if we were to look at the % of motorists or unique people being ticketed the # would be quite a bit higher. Why does this matter? If 15% or 20% of individuals that drive through that intersection are speeding then perhaps it would actually be safer if the speed limit was raised to 60 kph to minimize any speed differences in traffic. The goal is safety right?

60 KPH Zone on 16 Ave SW

60 KPH Zone - Fence Separation, Sidewalk adjacent to roadway

Take a look at the above photo showing 16 Ave SW in the 60kph zone which is about 4 blocks before the speed camera. Now take a look at where the speed limit is dropped to 50kph right before the speed camera. The roadway is wider, it is separated by a stronger concrete planter and the sideway is separated from the roadway. Motorists on this stretch will feel more comfortable driving at a higher rate of speed in the 50 zone than they would in the 60 zone, which is precisely why there is a speed camera there. There is higher tendency for motorists to speed here. Safety is not the primary concern here.

50 KPH Zone on 16 Ave SW

50 KPH Zone - Concrete Separation, Sidewalk separated from roadway

Speaking of safety, I decided to look into the statistics over the last few years to see if the ISCs were really making our streets safer. In the years prior to the launch of the speed-on-green cameras, injury collisions dropped from 3300 in 2007 to about 3000 in 2008 then to 2569 in 2009. The speed cameras were introduced in spring of 2009 (2 cameras were upgraded initially) and the full deployment of the speed-on-green cameras was completed at the end of the year. The trend for collisions was down even before all the cameras were upgraded. What about injury collisions after the “safety cameras” were installed? Flat. 2473 in 2010 and 2466 in 2011.

Bottom line, upgrading the red light cameras to be speed cameras (let’s call it what it actually is, instead of a safety camera) was strictly for revenue. In fact, Ald. John Mar who is on the Police Commission said:
the police commission will carry on with the program despite early numbers suggesting that Calgarians aren’t slowing down.

Hmm, of course they will carry on, money talks.

Speed On Green Cameras Tickets Start Today

We first wrote about the new speed cameras in Calgary back in March but at the time Calgary Police were not issuing any tickets from the system. Instead they were sending out warning letters to the registered owners of the vehicles that were caught speeding.

That all changes today. Effective today, the registered owners of the vehicles that are caught by the “Speed on Green” system will be issued tickets for speeding. The maximum fine for a speed camera ticket will be $350, but those that are caught excessively speeding will face mandatory court appearances.

Photograph by: Mikael Kjellstrom, Calgary Herald

Photograph by: Mikael Kjellstrom, Calgary Herald

At the end of this post is a list of all intersections (courtesy of CTV News) that are existing red light camera locations. The city has been slowly rolling out the speed camera functionality on their red light cameras. To spot an intersection with the new speed camera functionality, you can look for the warning sign that is posted nearby. There are usually two signs, the top sign will be a picture of a camera taking a picture and underneath there may be a sign that says “RED LIGHT”. If the bottom sign is not there and you see a red light camera, it means it has been upgraded with the speed camera functionality.

001 – Macleod Tr / 162 Ave SE
002 – Macleod Tr /12 Ave SE
003 – Centre St/ 20 Ave N
004 – John Laurie Bv / 53 St NW
005 – 68ST /16 Ave NE
006 – Sarcee Tr / Richmond Rd SW
007 – 4 St / 6 Ave SW
008 – 61 Ave / Barlow Tr SE
009 – Crowchild Tr / 24 Ave NW
010 – 11 Ave / 4 St SW
011 – 11 Ave / 14 St SW
012 – 17 Ave / 44 St SE
013 – 14 St / Heritage Dr SW
014 – 14 St / Northmount Dr NW
015 – 64 Ave / 4 St NE
016 – Anderson Rd / Acadia Dr SE
017 – 9 Ave / 11 St SW
018 – Barlow Ttr / 32 Ave NE
019 – 52 St / 32 Ave NE
020 – Bowness Rd / Shaganappi Tr NW
021 – Canyon Meadows Dr / Bowbottom Tr SE
022 – Southland Dr / Acadia Dr SE
023 – Fairmount Dr / Southland Dr SE
024 – Elbow Dr / Southland Dr SW
025 – Beddington Tr / Centre St N
026 – Falconridge Bv / 64 Ave NE
027 – 1 Street / 17 Ave SE
028 – McKnight Bv / Barlow Tr NE
029 – Barlow Tr / Centre Ave E
030 – Shaganappi Tr / Northland Dr NW
031 – Blackfoot Tr / 42 Ave SE
032 – Memorial Dr / 52 St NE
033 – 16 Ave / 10 Street NW
034 – Edmonton Tr / McKnight Bv NE
035 – Memorial Dr / 28 St NE
036 – Macleod Tr / 7 Ave SE
037 – Bow Tr / 33 St SW
038 – 17 Ave / 33 St SW
039 – Elbow Dr / Heritage Dr SW
040 – Country Hills Bv / Beddington Tr NW
041 – Glenmore Tr / Barlow Tr SE
042 – McKnight Bv / Falconridge Bv NE
043 – Macleod Tr / 25 Ave SE
044 – Country Hills Bv / 14 St NW

Speed Cameras Begin Operation In Calgary

Motorists in Calgary have yet another thing to deal with on the roads and the City of Calgary will soon have another lucrative revenue stream. The Speed on Green intersection cameras have started snapping photos of vehicles that speed through intersections while the light is green or yellow. The cameras are the same ones that are used to catch red light runners but they have been reprogrammed to catch speeders.

The Calgary Police Service has completed their testing of the new speed camera functionality and tickets will be sent to the registered owners of vehicles that speed through the intersections. Fortunately the tickets will be warning tickets to let the public know about the new initiative. After the grace period is over, fines of up to $350 or even mandatory court appearances will be handed out. It is expected that the city will begin issuing actual tickets with fines starting on April 1 but the province is pushing for a grace period of at least 90 days.

You can thank Art Johnston, an MLA from Calgary for the new speed cameras. The former Calgary Police officer of 25 years is the politician that sponsored the law allowing these cameras in the province. Art denies that the cameras are a cash cow and that public safety is the primary concern. Until tickets are issued to the actual drivers of the vehicles (photo taken of actual driver) it is nothing but a cash cow. Photo Radar is already in use and is ineffective in terms of increasing safety on the roads, I don’t see how speed cameras will be any different.

Forum Weekly Review December 20

In this weekly segment, we cover the top discussions going on in the automotive forums. These threads may be the most recent hot topics, or epic threads that we just wanted to dig up and feature.

If you have a suggestion for a thread to be included on the forum weekly review, e-mail it to If you have not joined our forums, register today its free!

Best TV Shows Flying Under the Radar
There is a lot of great television on these days, in fact theres too much! I can’t even keep up with a PVR so I’ve had to stop watching certain shows that don’t make the cut as there just isn’t enough time to keep up. Many people miss out on shows simply because there are so many of them trying to get our attention and inevitably, some of them slip under the radar. What are some shows you love that are not getting the attention they deserve?

Speed On Green Cameras Approved in Alberta
Red Light Cameras in Edmonton and Calgary will soon have a new feature enabled on them that will let the Police collect revenue for those that speed through intersections. While the original rationale behind the push for “speed on green” cameras was to nab drivers that sped up when the light turned yellow, the functionality allows the cameras to take photos of drivers that speed through intersections even on fresh greens. The province has allowed cameras to begin operating with the new features effective January 1, 2009 but it will take some time to turn on the new features. Calgary Police plan on having a grace period of 90 days before actual tickets are issued.

Tom’s Bottle Recycling Center Reviews Thread
This thread just had to be a part of the weekly review! :) Tom has been gracious enough to write up a review of two bottle depots in Calgary when he recently did a quick test of them. He got 100% of the money he was supposed to at both places and gives them both a thumbs up if you plan on recycling some bottles in the near future (who isn’t with all the CHRISTMAS dinners coming up?).