Students, parents and educators are all adjusting to the new reality of a very different and challenging school year. I want to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of our teachers, administrators and the entire community, as we work together to ensure the safety of students and staff in schools across the city.
Aside from COVID-19, the number one topic of conversation these days is road safety. We must all be more vigilant when driving in residential neighbourhoods and near schools and parks.
In July, the City launched an Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) pilot project. It consists of four cameras in eight Community Safety Zones, two of which are stationary and two others that rotate periodically between six key locations in residential neighbourhoods and school zones. The data collected between July 13 and 31 revealed that our four cameras led to 10,771 tickets being issued for speeding in school zones. That’s more than 2,500 tickets per camera in just over two weeks – and the real concern is the highest speed recorded during this period, with a motorist driving at 89 kilometres per hour on Meadowlands near St. Gregory Elementary School.
In addition to the ASE pilot project, the City has equipped nearly 60 intersections with red-light cameras to reduce aggressive driving behaviours, with another 14 cameras being installed by the end of the year. Studies have shown that dangerous red light running can decrease by as much as 42 percent within a few months of a camera being installed. I am confident that we will see some further reductions in dangerous driving as we expand these initiatives across Ottawa.
It is important to note that the revenue generated by these road safety initiatives will be re-invested in community safety programs with our partners at Safer Roads Ottawa.
I hope this shines a light on how seriously we have to take road safety across our city, and particularly in school zones – and how essential photo-radar and red-light cameras will be in addressing some of this dangerous behaviour.