I’m disappointed we didn’t get some of these stepped-up intersection speed cameras in New West. Speed cameras in intersections that can automatically ticket speeders are a good idea, one that can only be opposed by those who like to speed through intersections at illegal speeds, selfishly endangering everyone around them.

Why not New Wet? Apparently the intersections where these cameras were activated were those ranked highest in accident history and  speed issues. Perhaps the silver lining here is that this suggests our intersections are relatively safe by those measures compared to other areas in the Lower Mainland. Though I recognize just by saying that I am going to see comments on social media with people listing their least-favourite intersection. Mine is shown in the picture above.

But hopefully this is the just the first phase of the program, and we may see more cameras in the future. I would also hope that the next phases look not only at raw speed or 85th percentile or accident history, but we may expand the warrant analysis to emphasize intersections where vulnerable road users are more common. Yes, Accidents between speeding cars can be expensive, and often leads to injury or death. but a speeding car hitting a pedestrian is almost always fatal. While injuries and deaths of people inside cars is going down, injuries and deaths of pedestrians is going up. Technology like this can correct that trend.

On the good news side, New West has begun to make changes that were suggested by the Walkers Caucus last year, and are implementing a program of standardizing (and lengthening) the timing of pedestrian crossing light signals. Starting with the pedestrian-activated signals such as the one on Sixth Ave at 14th Street, which have already been adjusted to allow sufficient time for more people to cross safely. The ACTBiPed is also spending some time this year looking at the use of “Beg Buttons” in the City. Despite some lengthy critiques of these in Urbanist circles, there are places where pedestrian-controlled signals serve to make the pedestrian experience safer and more convenient, and there are places where they definitely prioritize car movement over pedestrian movement, in direct contrast to the priorities set out in our Master Transportation Plan. Teasing out these differences, and howto fix it, is an interesting topic, and one we hope to review and create some policy recommendations to Council.

But as you can see above, making our intersections safer and more comfortable for pedestrians is going to take more than signal timing and activation timing. This is why I support intersection camera, and further suggest we need to step up enforcement in the good old fashioned cop-with-a-ticketbook format if we are going to change drivers behaviour.

2 comments on “Intersections

  1. A good move to increase camera enforcement. It should also come with stepped up enforcement of licence plate regulations. There are far too many BC vehicles out there with missing front plates and plates blocked by near-opaque covers and bike racks. Intentionally hiding or blocking plates is pretty much an admission of wilfully endangering other street users.

  2. Speeding through intersections is a problem. The common notion “green means go and yellow means go faster” is the problem. This change will help deal with that. But speeding is more of a problem between intersections, and this change does not affect that at all. Interval cameras – which compare number plates of cars at two sequential locations – determine average speed over a distance, not speed at one fleeting moment. The reason we need to deal with speed is not collision incidence (which has prompted this exercise) but collision severity. At 70 km/hr this is much more serious than at 40. No matter what the posted speed, the laws of physics are the same. Drivers now have contempt for speed enforcement due to the failure of the BC Liberals to introduce speed enforcement properly. People now have an entitlement to drive at 10, or 20, km/hr over the limit due to their perception of when they will get pulled over. But they could be driving at a potentially fatal speed, due to the conditions of the weather and the road at the time, but within the posted speed which applies to optimal conditions. And that is dangerous driving.

Leave a Reply