City councillor calls for look at installing traffic-enforcement cameras at crosswalks
Published Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:14PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014 6:41PM CST
A Winnipeg city councillor wants drivers who disobey rules at crosswalks with flashing lights fined for their misbehaviour.
Coun. Ross Eadie spearheaded a motion for the city to study the idea of putting devices similar to red-light cameras at controlled crosswalks.
A pedestrian would hit the button activating the signal and the camera would then also be triggered.
Eadie said more is needed to make crosswalks safe for pedestrians.
“Frankly, I've almost been killed three times," he said.
Eadie said cameras could make drivers watch more closely.
"What they do is they make intersections safer for pedestrians because drivers start to pay attention," he said.
Ryan Pattern uses a crosswalk daily and said some pedestrians have had close calls at it because drivers aren’t paying attention.
"They're either texting, and you’re not supposed to obviously, or they're eating, or something, or drinking coffee,” he said.
Another pedestrian told CTV News those walking need to pay attention too.
"I think it's the pedestrian's responsibility too," said Amy Hay.
The company that does photo enforcement for Winnipeg said it doesn't know of any other city in North America that does this but adds the technology exists to set the cameras up at the crosswalks.
The owner of Traffic Ticket Experts said the cameras may not change driving habits because the owner of the vehicle, who gets the ticket, may not be the one driving at the time of the infraction at the crosswalk.
“It is just another form of taxation. It's as simple as that and I think the city is certainly looking for as (much) money as they can find and I think this gets them more of that," said Len Eastoe.
Drivers caught speeding or running red lights currently can see fines well over $200 if caught by a camera.
The Winnipeg Police Board is set to debate the idea this week.
Eadie's proposal could face tough opposition there. The chair of the board, Scott Fielding, is an opponent of photo enforcement.
There are currently 174 crosswalks in Winnipeg. Eadie said you could have a set number of cameras and move them around to different locations at different times.
- with a report from Jeff Keele