A speed camera on Niagara Stone Road becomes inactive this week, and the one on York Road through St. Davids begins operating the week of April 15.Penny Coles, File Photo

The average speed on Niagara Stone Road in front of Crossroads Public School went down by 11 kilometres when a speed camera installed by Niagara Region was operating at the location from early January to late March.  

That’s according to an update provided by staff to the Region’s public works committee earlier this week.

It was one of four cameras that operated in community safety zones during that time period. The other three cameras were in Fort Erie, Grimsby, and Lincoln.  

At that same meeting, councillors who sit on the public works committee approved expanding the automated speed enforcement program by four cameras annually in both 2025 and 2026, which will be placed in the region’s 12 community safety zones. 

The cost of the expansion is nearly $1.9 million, which Niagara Region transportation director Frank Tassone told Niagara-on-the-Lake town council on Tuesday would be funded by the region’s portion of fines generated by speeders caught by one of the cameras.  

The regional staff report says driver speed in the enforcement locations was reduced by an average of seven kilometres per hour, a 13-per-cent reduction, since the first cameras were put in operation last September.

The number of speeding violations captured per hour decreased from 181 in September to 60 in December, a 67-per-cent reduction, reads a portion of the report, which Tassone confirmed during the meeting was an accurate statistic.  

A second camera has been installed in Niagara-on-the-Lake, running until the end of June. It will begin active automated speed enforcement in the community safety zone on York Road between Queenston Road and Concession 3, on the stretch in front of St. Davids School, beginning the week of April 15. The automated speed camera located on Niagara Stone Road near Crossroads School will no stop operating by the end of this week and will be moved.

During the recent regional public works meeting, Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa shared concerns raised by Pelham Regional Coun. Diana Huson over service delivery and issues ticketed residents said existed with an online payment system.

He also reiterated one position he has expressed publicly on more than one occasion: money brought in by fines will be “reinvested in road safety measures,” not to line regional coffers.  

Regional staff also told the committee that an issue with online payment was resolved Monday.

The regional report provides preliminary results, and does not include figures related to how much revenue the program has brought in.  

Tassone told councillors that the region has spent about $3.3 million on the Vision Zero program, which includes automated speed enforcement.

He provided this figure after Lincoln Regional Coun. Rob Foster shared his dismay with recent vandalism in his community, as well as neighbouring West Lincoln, where posts the camera posts were cut to the ground at three locations. He called these acts “incredibly stupid.”  

Tassone said the cameras are currently catching people from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. He also said it’s not surprising that the enforcement equipment was damaged. 

“Early in the program, we did expect a certain level of vandalism that is normal,” he said, but added that in the cases referred to by Foster, where power tools appear to have been used, it warrants contacting Niagara Regional Police to investigate.  

The Niagara Region website says along with the camera on York Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a camera on Montrose Road in Niagara Falls, between Watson Street and Lundy’s Lane in front of Greendale Elementary School, is collecting fines currently.  

The others are Louth Street between Rykert Street and Pelham Road near DSBN Academy in St. Catharines, as well as Townline Road between Harvest Gate and Canborough Road in front of Smithville District Christian High School in West Lincoln.

By Kris Dube, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 12, 2024 at 07:18

This item reprinted with permission from   Niagara-on-the-lake Local   Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario

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