Red light camera stalled

It’s been years already, but the wait for a red light camera for downtown Salmon Arm will continue.

It’s been years already, but the wait for a red light camera for downtown Salmon Arm will continue.

City council received a letter from Clayton Pecknold, assistant deputy minister in the B.C. justice ministry, in response to an April letter. That letter had requested cost-sharing the installation of an intersection safety camera at the Trans-Canada Highway and Alexander Street NE.

The city has put funds in reserve for a camera.

Pecknold said the Intersection Safety Camera (ISC) program has recently been upgraded. Part of the process was reviewing collision data from more than 1,400 intersections in B.C. From that review, 140 sites were selected, all of which experienced an average of 86 crashes per year, many of which resulted in serious injury or death. The Salmon Arm intersection was assessed using the same process.

Pecknold writes: “Over the past five years, the crash data indicates there have been two angle and two left-turn opposing crashes. As a result, this intersection ranked 630th out of more than 1,400 intersections. In light of the ISC goal to reduce serious harm at British Columbia’s worst intersections, this location along with many others was not considered suitable for the deployment of an ISC…”

He continued by saying that an independent evaluation of red light cameras to determine their impact on road safety is expected to be completed in the fall.

“Municipal opt-in options cannot be undertaken until those studies are completed later in 2013.”

However, he does suggest another study – this one in Salmon Arm, to see if a red light camera would be the best option.

Pecknold stated that he has been advised “that the number of reported collisions along this stretch of the TCH warrants a road safety study to verify the types of engineering and road safety improvements that would most benefit pedestrian/vehicle interactions, and that the City of Salmon Arm could qualify for funding from ICBC’s Road Improvement Program.”

He continued: “The initial purchase and installation cost of an ISC camera along with ongoing maintenance and ticket processing costs may not produce the road safety benefits your community anticipates or expects from this level of investment.”

Coun. Alan Harrison has long been an advocate for a red light camera and he said the city will continue to pursue one.

City politicians will speak to the solicitor general at the upcoming Union of BC Municipalities Convention in order to keep discussions current, he said.

“I recognize at intersections like Canada Way (in the Lower Mainland) there’s lots more traffic, but I’m looking after the City of Salmon Arm. Our point is the the Trans-Canada Highway runs through Salmon Arm – that’s unique and has to be considered…”

He said city staff will also be checking with ICBC about funding for other measures the city could be taking to mitigate the danger.