• Photo radar shadowing campaign. Cash Cow Extravaganza

    A local group has started a campaign to highlight what they feel is an unjust and inappropriate method of raising funds via photo radar.



    Details from their facebook page

    Let's get it started. Let's get enough people to stop this cash cow photo radar operation in the entire city for at least 1 day. That means every photo radar vehicle having 2-3 people behind it with a sign.
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1053192468106559/

    What do you think?

    This article was posted to generate discussion and does not imply support for or condemnation of any action in their campaign on the part of Connect2Edmonton.
    Comments 35 Comments
    1. Highlander II -
      I can get behind the idea, at least for locations where the is a drop in the speed limit and the photo buggy sets up right there. If there's speeding in those locations then there needs to be better signage, including those radar signs (I love those).

      In general, though I protest the cash cow by driving close enough to the speed limit so I don't get a ticket. maybe a good complimentary/counterprotest would be to get people to slow down in other locations by holding up a "photo radar ahead" sign in a location where there is no photo radar.
    1. Marcel Petrin -
      Recently I was on a road trip on BC's coast and Vancouver Island, and I was shocked how much higher speed limits were there, both on rural highways and urban roads. For example, there are numerous roads right in Nanaimo that are little different from 170th street, with 80 km/h speed limits. In my opinion, most of the photo radar enforcement in Edmonton is not targeted at locations where there are high accident rates. They are targeted at areas where they will generate the most revenue.
    1. piglet -
      I think another way to protest should be considered. I think it might be an offense.. to advertise that a photo radar is up ahead. Might be mischief or stunting .
    1. noodle -
      I'd rather they start at the most lucrative spots so they can maximize economies of scale, maintaining profitability to reinvest into the expansion of the system. I'd rather a system that pays its way (and more) even if it's not maximally effective rather than a system that's incrementally more effective that requires top-ups or doesn't provide additional revenue for projects like the current system does. Now that costs are stabilizing, perhaps a better split can be found, but I can't fault them for striving for self-sufficiency,

      I'd also like them to increase the fines, especially for repeat offenders. Ratcheting rates based on time since your last infraction. There's a loud contingent of people who've got some sort of sick pride about not changing how they drive in the face of multiple infractions & I figure a harsher punishment might make them change their tune.

      (FWIW, I just got my first photo radar ticket in more than a decade. $109 for 11 over. It's not a large amount, a mild inconvenience in the grand scheme of things but I can think of an infinite amount of better ways to spend a Borden than giving it to the City of Edmonton.)
    1. Spudly -
      Quote Originally Posted by piglet View Post
      I think another way to protest should be considered. I think it might be an offense.. to advertise that a photo radar is up ahead. Might be mischief or stunting .
      One of those two... other people have been charged in the past for similar actions.

      Spray-paint would take a lot less time.
    1. piglet -
      Also to discuss such things be a primer to incite? Which can get ya in trouble as well :0
    1. Highlander II -
      They've always got photo radar set up one way or the other on 112 ave at Borden park, despite traffic speeds that have fallen significantly. I typically drive very close to the limit there and i'm only occasionally passed, but they must be still making money...
    1. RichardS -
      ^ That is kind of my concern as well. I see them a lot as I come into Edmonton on overpasses on the Henday and that is definitely not a high collision zone. People do recognize that they are there and have slowed down, but they're always there every day. That must mean they are making significant money from the spots they choose. There is no real safety issues compared to areas like 91st Street which are now the zero pedestrian accident zones. So yes, I do find the administration and execution of the project very suspect when it comes to the stated goals of safety and reducing speed.

      One way to see just how much revenue they expect and are becoming dependent on is to simply look at how to restrict and/or eliminate photo radar. Where the howling commences is the real areas that are getting used to this drug.
    1. noodle -
      I've never understood why automated enforcement being revenue positive is such a bad thing to so many people?
    1. Medwards -
      Is it really that hard to figure out why speeders dont like enforcement of any sort? Most if not all their arguments have flaws, and really just boil down to "I want to speed and not have to pay if I get caught".

      if speed limits are too low, their efforts would be better spent working to have those changed.
    1. Highlander II -
      It would be great politics for one of our city councilors to start a process to raise some speed limits, publicly recognizing that some of our speed limits were based on a 10km/hr buffer that doesn't exist anymore. You could probably find 40-50km of roads where the limit could easily be raised without negative impacts.

      That sort of process might speed up the social acceptance of photo radar and low buffers over the speed limit, and lower speeds in neighbourhoods.
    1. gwill211 -
      I drove to Vegas a month or so ago where speed limits are 140km an hour. I saw 2 accidents in both trips there and back. People know how to drive in the states.

      One thing I remember were the signs along Deerfoot in Calgary that tell slow drivers to stay right.... For some reason in Edmonton we can't have these signs along the henday or white mud.

      Our policies as well as our speed limits are a joke. Our city cpuncil and transportation department think you need slower speeds and more photo radar when in reality other cities and counties have zero issues with higher speeds.

      One thing I did notice in America were very heavy police presence on the main highways. Certain areas had lots of police pulling people over.

      I guess they havent figured out that photo radar makes our roads safer.
    1. RichardS -
      Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
      I've never understood why automated enforcement being revenue positive is such a bad thing to so many people?

      I don't think it is that simple my friend. It is not that automated enforcement being cash flow positive is a bad thing, but it is disingenuous to use arguments on social good when the true rationale is revenue generation. Speed limits in Edmonton are artificially low on many roadways, and it is not surprising that that's where you see the majority of automated enforcement. To the Edmonton Police Service's credit, they do have staffed speed traps on areas where I do see a safety concern. For example, Groat Road often has staffed enforcement blitzes. However, as I said earlier, parked on top of the Henday is not something that is truly used for enforcement. The speed limit there has no absolute reason to drop to 100 km/h from a 110 km/h zone. The only reason is done so is to entrap users. Surprise surprise, photo radar trucks are there like flies to excrement.

      The Whitemud is another classic example of what you see on the Henday.

      You also see automated enforcement on 109th Street adjacent to St. Joseph's. While yes, you should not be speeding near a school, that should be staffed enforcement if safety is the goal. Entrapping people in a spot without immediate feedback is disingenuous.

      For those who say that people should lobby for higher speed limits, all you have to do is take a look at Scona Road - artificially reduced to 50 km/h after significant infrastructure was put in to isolate pedestrians and vehicles. Given the current bend of our Administration and Council, one pedestrian lobby group took designs that would allow faster speeds and had that scrapped. Surprise surprise, frequent automated enforcement. There are times where I do see staffed enforcement on the road, but the vast majority is a photo radar truck in the same spot.

      In short, if the city was open and honest about its intentions with photo radar, it could alleviate some of the concern. Just flat out say keep the speed limits low, and you're going to enforce them, and you okay that the revenue cow exists, then your golden. But hiding behind social good and safety when it is readily apparent that automated photo enforcement is being used to entrap drivers... Well that's not going to win you friends or public acceptance.

      The masses may be asses.... But sometimes the masses are right...
    1. RichardS -
      Quote Originally Posted by gwill211 View Post
      I drove to Vegas a month or so ago where speed limits are 140km an hour. I saw 2 accidents in both trips there and back. People know how to drive in the states.

      One thing I remember were the signs along Deerfoot in Calgary that tell slow drivers to stay right.... For some reason in Edmonton we can't have these signs along the henday or white mud.

      Our policies as well as our speed limits are a joke. Our city cpuncil and transportation department think you need slower speeds and more photo radar when in reality other cities and counties have zero issues with higher speeds.

      One thing I did notice in America were very heavy police presence on the main highways. Certain areas had lots of police pulling people over.

      I guess they havent figured out that photo radar makes our roads safer.
      When I lived back in the states I noticed the same thing. People can drive a lot better. Driving the New Jersey Turnpike, the Long Island Expressway, or many interstates I really did not see the same troubles that I see on the Henday. The incredible amount of staffed versus automated enforcement definitely was a clue. The Sheriff's and other local law enforcement agencies were out in droves.

      Another thing that came to mind is that if safety and driver education is really the key, the city of Edmonton and should take some of these incredibly insane ads on "store it, don't pour it" and go put that money from photo radar into PSA's on how to drive better. But then we all know automated enforcement is not about safety...
    1. noodle -
      The money goes to the expansion of the system though. It's not a general revenue cash cow. Milking every drop out of people who flaunt or break traffic regulations is perfectly fine by me.

      Revenue generated by photo enforcement does NOT go into general revenue. Revenue from photo radar can only be spent on traffic safety programs, not on general City expenses.
      Revenue covers operating costs of automated enforcement including a base allocation to Edmonton Police Service. In 2015, Edmonton Police Service received $18 million from automated enforcement.

      • 15% of the total fine is given to Victims Services
      • 16.67% goes to the Alberta Government
      • The remaining fine balance goes to the Reserve Fund and is used to fund safety and community projects at Councilís direction
      • Any late payment penalty attached to the fine goes to the province (amount of $20 or 20%, whichever is greater)
      • Speed infractions follow the specified penalties as listed in the Alberta Traffic Safety Act
    1. Gemini -
      It's simple. We have a civic body that if they cannot tax something they will ticket it.
    1. Highlander II -
      ^^Henday is provincial, is it not? I'm pretty sure that you can't blame the city for that one, although it is one that should have the limit raised.

      I don't think any PSAs have significant impact. We do need much stricter licensing, though. There are lots of people who are driving but shouldn't be.

      ^^Scona road is a counter-example too. The redesign may have made it an easier place to accidentally speed, but it actually removed some separation between cars and pedestrians. There are good reasons not to have a higher speed limit there, especially at the top. Mostly it's a failure of design, not of speed limits. I understand that the speed limit wasn't lowered, it just wasn't raised.
    1. RichardS -
      However noodle, that logic does not address speed limits that are both prudent and are not ones intentionally designed to entrap users.

      I'd like to see what this "reserve fund" is actually funding. It seems pretty all encompassing and vague, especially when only 15% goes to Victims Services. Notice how they don't elaborate on that percentage number, even though it is easily figured out? Because putting that in writing would draw attention to the ~2/3rds of the revenue that is "community projects as Council's direction".
    1. RichardS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
      ^^Henday is provincial, is it not? I'm pretty sure that you can't blame the city for that one, although it is one that should have the limit raised.
      AHD is administered and policed by the CoE. The speed limit changes at the border of Edmonton. So..yes...yes I can...


      If it was provincial, automated enforcement would not be allowed.


      Note they never have the vans/trucks taking pictures of vehicles leaving Edmonton?
    1. Highlander II -
      ^ I don't use henday too often, but was ticketed once by a sherrif based on Strathcona county for speeding (120, the speed of traffic) westbound within Edmonton. Now I'm even more confused.