Bylaw officer could focus on traffic safety
I notice the issue of photo radar has generated a lot of discussion from some Penticton councillors. It was my impression that members of council were there to represent their constituents. It appears that even though constituents throughout British Columbia loudly and clearly demonstrated their distaste for photo radar, some councillors are prepared to ram it down our throats. After all who wishes to be branded a “coward”?
This issue, from all appearances, arose as a result of the concerns expressed regarding one school in our city. I would assume that if one were to survey all the schools in Penticton, most, if not all, would identify the same concerns at their school. And why restrict the issue to schools. Have you ever driven north on Main Street and slowed down when you reached the 30km/h zone at Pen High. All too often a driver or drivers behind you will express their angst at having to slow down and will ride your back bumper, or hurriedly dart into the next lane and pass you while glaring at you or giving you a middle-digit salute. Some are brazen enough to honk at you. This continues all along Main Street up to the lakeshore. Let’s not ignore former councillor Pearce’s pet peeve with the vehicles speeding along the South Main/Eastside Road corridor.
The problem is much more widespread than speeding in school zones and much more comprehensive than just speeding. There is no evidence presented that speeding was the cause or sole cause of the child having their feet run over or the object on the roadway being struck. The driver could have been distracted or cars may have been parked while dropping off or picking up children in such a way that causing these vehicles to deviate from their lane. The emphasis needs to be focused on all the factors of motor vehicle operation that put our citizens, especially children, at risk.
The point I am trying to highlight is the lack of adequate traffic enforcement in the City of Penticton. That is the issue to be addressed. All unsatisfactory driving habits must be the concern, and photo radar only deals with one of them, and then only in the area where it is located. Are we to put photo radar at all schools?
Currently our enforcement is provided by the RCMP. I often wonder why the enforcement I most often see deals with seat-belts and distracted drivers. As a priority, should these take precedence over school zones? RCMP resources are expensive and to increase their level of traffic enforcement may be unaffordable.
However, at the risk of being branded a coward, I would like to suggest council not pursue photo radar and instead investigate the possibility and benefits of establishing a position of bylaw officer responsible for traffic safety. This would bring traffic enforcement in-house and under the direction of council and/or the administration. There would be up-front costs for wages, training, vehicle and equipment. Their focus would be strictly traffic enforcement. Should they encounter any other issue like drugs or impaired driving for example, they would immediately refer it to the RCMP. When one sees the amount of money returned to communities from traffic enforcement it seems apparent this position would pay for itself and may be able to put the excess into city coffers. (This aspect generates some concern that council would get hooked on the revenue and this would become the impetus for enforcement rather than driver education.)
Having a ticket issued by a bylaw officer still has a sting to it and may not be appreciated. However, it is generally more acceptable when issued at the time and place of the infraction, rather than receiving it two or three weeks later in the mail.
This is but one suggestion. I am sure there will be others, however, I hope council does not relax on this issue until it is adequately and comprehensively resolved. We deserve safe streets.