If the government PROMISED to only bring in Photo Radar for the purposes of getting people to slow down on the Patullo Bridge (and not anywhere else in the province) and it was running 7x24 in both directions - would you support it?
An article with some background info regarding this poorly designed bridge:
Burnaby NewsLeader, Page 13, 27-April-2007
Police on both sides of the Fraser River are calling for the provincial government to reconsider its opposition to automated speeding ticket cameras on the Pattullo Bridge after another fatal crash this week. The death of a New Westminster woman Monday night is linked to excessive speed.
“I firmly believe stationary traffic cameras for speed enforcement on the bridge would be really beneficial,” said New Westminster Police Staff Sgt. Casey Dehaas, who heads the traffic enforcement unit there. Solicitor General John Les has repeatedly ruled out automated cameras after a formal request by TransLink last year.
The premier has said deploying the cameras would unravel the Liberals’ promise to scrap photo radar, and the government will only reconsider the issue if conventional enforcement fails to slow motorists. Dehaas says the Pattullo presents a unique situation that deserves special treatment.
Excessive speed is considered the main factor in most fatalities on the bridge and nearly all motorists exceed the posted 50 km/h limit. Officers from New Westminster and Surrey say they are doing all they can to slow traffic, but both forces are up against limits.
Dehaas said his officers can do little to crack down on northbound speeders across the bridge because there’s no safe place to pull them over on the New Westminster side. “It’s almost impossible for us to do enforcement on our end,” he said. “The members have tried it and it’s just too dangerous to try to work radar enforcement there.” Worse yet, reckless drivers heading that way know they can’t be caught.
Surrey RCMP Sgt. Paul Mulvihill, the detachment’s NCO for traffic services, said he’s measured northbound drivers at well over 100 km/h who know they’ve been clocked but actually speed up because they’re immune.
Surrey officers pour considerable time and effort into catching southbound speeders as they arrive in Surrey. Mulvihill said RCMP spent 918 hours on traffic enforcement on the Pattullo last year and issued 3,006 speeding tickets. “That accounts for roughly a sixth of our entire enforcement efforts in the city,” he said. No other single location in Surrey gets as much attention.
Stepped up enforcement on the Pattullo has now been at the current elevated level for about three years, Mulvihill said. He figures it’s having some effect, but not enough.
An ICBC study in 2002 found the prevailing speed of drivers on the bridge was 84 km/h. Since then the limit has been cut from 60 to 50 km/h. Mulvihill estimates most traffic now speeds in the mid to high 70s across the bridge. He’s personally ticketed drivers doing 110 km/h as they enter the bridge’s dangerous curve.
“Any vehicle exceeding 121 km/h on that curve will start to rotate,” Mulvihill said. “It’s just the laws of physics.”
Cars that spin usually end up in the oncoming lane, he said, and contribute to some of the 257 crashes on the bridge and $4 million in ICBC accident claims every year.
Officers are at a loss to explain why most people won’t slow down given the narrow bridge’s notoriety and death toll, the deadliest in B.C.
“I think the viable option we would like to see – and I know it’s a political hot potato – is some kind of speed camera automated enforcement on that bridge,” Mulvihill said. “It would free up my members and give us almost a thousand man hours to target the other problem areas of the city.”
TransLink is also studying options to add a centre median barrier or take out a lane and move to a three-lane counterflow system. Promises to install a barrier have been repeatedly delayed. A report on all options is to come to the board later this year, but TransLink officials couldn’t say whether that will be before appointed board of professionals takes over TransLink. Work has also begun to explore replacing the bridge.