St. Paul Council suspends Photo Radar

The Town of St. Paul Mayor & Council voted unanimously to suspend its contract with Global Traffic Solutions, the provider of photo radar, in the community. Effective January 1st, 2018, there will no longer be photo radar in the community.

The Town invited Global Traffic Solutions to give a presentation to Council on the program. During the presentation it was highlighted that the hours of operation had been drastically reduced due to the effectiveness of the program. Global Traffic is contracted to patrol 80 hours of ATE, 64 hours of speed violations, and 16 hours of stop sign violations per month, in St. Paul. Presenting data that over 33,000 vehicles traveled through the community in a week period with only 66 of them having been in violation of speed laws, the company had suggested further reducing the hours of operation to six hours per week.

Many rumours were dispelled at during the presentation; including the fact that a peace officer must also witness the violation and be actively watching for driving violations, that tickets are mailed out within three days of the violation, the location of the photo radar set up is determined with the assistance of the RCMP, and that there is a certain threshold that is set by the RCMP as to what level above the speed limit violations are issued.

The company also produced data showing one community that had stopped the service went from a near zero violation to an increase of over 4,800 percent. The theory being that when people know there is the possibility of getting a ticket they adjust their driving behaviour. Once that threat is gone, the bad driving behaviour starts up again.

Global Traffic Solutions highlighted some problematic areas that they discovered that are still existent in the community; mainly main street, entering or exiting the community on both the east and west ends of town. These areas were monitored over a week period, using technology patented by the company. A small discrete box that by using radar can count how many vehicles, the type of vehicle, and the speed of the vehicle. The information gathered is not used to issue tickets, rather it is used to determine the behaviour of drivers who do not know they are being watched.

During the election, the previous Council took it to the residents, asking whether or not the community wanted photo radar. With 61 percent of the voters on October 16th, 2017, stating they did not.

With the information from the presentation in mind and the results of the plebiscite vote, Councillor Nathan Taylor put forward a motion to suspend Global Traffic Solutions contract to provide photo radar service for the Town of St. Paul. The motion was passed unanimously. Councillor Taylor then put forward a motion for a request for information from Global Traffic Solutions on the cost of monitoring the town using one of their discrete boxes. He wanted to ensure that with the removal of photo radar poor driving behaviour will not return to the community. Mayor & Council supported the second motion and Town Administration will seek further information from Global Traffic Solutions.