If the focus is truly on safety within school zones and playgrounds, then the province shouldn’t dismiss photo radar outright, the NDP candidate for Kamloops-South Thompson said Wednesday.
“You don’t dismiss things out of hand. You always focus on safety and look for the best means of accomplishing that,” said Tom Friedman.
Friedman, who ran unsuccessfully against newly elected MLA and Transportation Minister Todd Stone in the May provincial election, joins a Penticton mayoral candidate’s bid to bring photo radar back for school zones and playgrounds only.
One of the first things the B.C. Liberals did when taking power in 2001 was eliminate photo radar. Friedman understands the public viewed the method of enforcement as a cash grab and doesn’t like the idea of being monitored 24/7.
But he said Garry Litke’s proposal would use photo radar in a limited capacity, and is therefore worth considering, he said.
“I would think that, in some ways, a minister of transportation should be open to other possibilities that might protect people,” said Friedman.
Stone reiterated that neither he nor the province has an appetite to resurrect photo radar in any form.
He held firm to this position when presented with a B.C. Automobile Association survey that shows 72 per cent of residents believe road safety in school zones is worse around the start of school.
The survey states 80 per cent of people believe motorists known the rules of the road but break them anyway and 78 per cent have seen drivers speed in school zones. Eighteen per cent of respondents said they have witnessed a near miss in school zones.
“That being said, the safety of our children on the streets and sidewalks, particularly during the first week of school, is at the top of our minds,” said Stone.
A number of safety initiatives by the Insurance Corporation of B.C. and the RCMP will be unveiled next week, he said. These will go a long way to ensuring student safety as classes resume.
The Southern Interior Local Government Association supports Litke’s proposal, and the issue will be discussed at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention next month.
The BCAA survey was conducted Aug. 12 to 17 among 825 of the association’s Your Insights members.