It appears St. Albert residents aren’t as lead-footed as originally anticipated.
Figures from city hall indicate about 1,042 speed-on-green tickets were issued for the month of September, the first full month of the program. The number of violations equates to about 35 tickets a day.
Those numbers are slightly lower than the 1,125 tickets the city had originally anticipated, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, according to RCMP liaison Chuck Foster.
“It had a bigger impact than what we really expected as far as changing driver behaviour, which is what it’s aimed at doing,” said Foster, who is still waiting for the number of violations to arrive for the months of October and November. Infractions are expected to decrease, on average, 25 per cent a month.
“We are quite pleased to see that reduction in speeders, which means a reduction in speeds.”
The technology was installed in August but didn’t come online until September at two intersections — Herbert Road/Gervais Road and St. Albert Trail, and the other at Bellerose Drive/McKenney Avenue and the Trail.
The Hebert Road/Gervais Road intersection is the city’s worst for accidents, with 312 collisions reported during a five-year span between 2002 and 2007. The city’s five worst intersections totalled a combined 1,037 collisions over the same period.
Drivers were given a grace period for the month of August before the $100 fines started arriving in the mail. During that period, the city had anticipated about 75 infractions per day, but was closer to 100.
The city also conducted a preliminary test in September 2008 before permanently installing the technology. At that time, speed on green resulted in about 120 speed violations in a single day.
Once drivers become aware of the technology and adjust their driving habits accordingly, the city expects to eventually average 15 tickets per day in about six months time.
“From previous experience with starting up a new photo enforcement program, you tend to have a fairly high initial uptake,” said Chris Jardine, general manager of community and protective services.
The red-light cameras and speed-on-green technology make up a very small portion of the revenue generated from photo radar.
Initially, the city had expected to receive $88,000 in net proceeds from the technology in its first year, but now that drivers have changed their habits quicker than expected, that number is pegged as $26,900.
As a result, council had to approve a $150,000 increase to the photo radar and speed-on-green budget to accommodate the error in calculation, bringing the total revenue to $853,000
Fifty per cent of speed-on-green revenue will go into a reserve account for traffic safety initiatives and the other half will be diverted into general revenues.
So far September violations are the only data police have received on the new technology.
RCMP Insp. Warren Dosko said police won’t be able to determine if in fact the number of injury accidents is being reduced or if there has been a reduction in speeds at the intersections until four or six months down the road.
There are no plans at this time to add any more of the cameras to city intersections.