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Years in the works, six red light cameras slated for Greater Sudbury

Cameras to be installed this fall despite ongoing concern about emergency vehicle exemptions
20180116 red light traffic camera AdobeStock_57630919
Red light traffic camera with mounted strobe lights. (File)

Red light cameras will become a reality in Greater Sudbury sometime this fall, city councillors decided during Tuesday’s meeting.

Six red light cameras are expected to be installed by Traffipax, LLC, which will enter a four-year initial contract with the city with two additional option years.

“We have an epidemic of people running red lights in Sudbury,” Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan said during Tuesday’s meeting. “These (cameras) are going to be very beneficial in making our intersections safe.”

The cameras will only issue tickets for running red lights and will not target speeders. 

Since there’s no way to determine who is driving, demerit points will not be issued. Fines will be $325, of which $265 goes to the city and $60 goes to the province for a victim surcharge fine.

The operator will choose from eight intersections identified, including: 

  • Paris Street at Cedar Street
  • Regent Street at Loach’s Road/Algonquin Road
  • Municipal Road 80 at Dominion Drive
  • Lasalle Boulevard at Montrose Avenue
  • Paris Street at Centennial Drive
  • Barrydowne Road at Hawthorne Drive
  • Paris Street at Walford Road
  • Lasalle Boulevard at Roy Avenue

Red light cameras have been a topic of discussion in council chambers since at least 2018, when a city-wide Road Safety Assessment determined red-light running was a contributor toward serious collisions in the city.

A followup report in 2019 cited 94 four-legged and 20 three-legged signalized intersections within city boundaries in 2017, at which there were 464 right-angle and 1,622 rear-end collisions during a five-year study period.

The city’s most problematic intersection for right-angle collisions between 2012 and 2016 was Paris Street at Cedar Street, where there were 21 collisions.

Although city council appeared united in favour of having red light cameras installed, there was some concern expressed regarding the potential penalization of emergency personnel. 

City traffic and asset manager Joe Rocca clarified that the Highway Traffic Act requires emergency vehicles to come to a complete stop at red lights before proceeding, which the cameras would enforce.

“For repeated occurrences, the operator may be required to pay the associated fine or face formal discipline,” he said — a point Ward 6 Coun. René Lapierre took issue with.

Drawing from his 24-year experience as an emergency responder, he said there’s no doubt in his mind that paramedics dealing with an emergency situation are “not stopping” at a red light when it appears safe for them to do so.

“Driving through a red light at an intersection carries with it a significant risk when you have opposing traffic coming at right angles, so it’s not something that we take lightly,” community safety manager Joseph Nicholls said, later adding that policies will come into play before the cameras are operational.

After clarifying that red light cameras are new to him, Nicholls said this will be a “learning curve for everybody.”

Mayor Brian Bigger said that he’s confident common sense can be applied and that council’s concerns regarding emergency personnel would be taken seriously.

The cost to implement the red light camera program is estimated at $500,000 per year and cameras will only take photographs of rear licence plates.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for