Ignoring new, prominent warning signs and flying through one of B.C.’s highest-risk intersections will soon lead to an automated speeding ticket, including two locations in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
The pair of local intersections are among the 35 identified by the province as high risk: Maple Ridge, at the junction of Lougheed Highway and 207th Street; and in Pitt Meadows, at Lougheed Highway and Old Dewdney Trunk Road.
Beginning this summer, B.C. will install new warning signs and activate technology to ticket the owners of vehicles entering these intersections well over the posted limit.
According to a release, the province has completed an analysis of speed and crash data for the 140 intersections currently equipped with red-light cameras. It identified the 35 “with the greatest potential for further safety gains through automated speed enforcement.
“We have a record number of crashes happening – more than 900 a day in our province – and about 60 per cent of the crashes on our roads are at intersections,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general.
“We’ve taken time to systematically pinpoint the locations linked to crashes and dangerous speeds that are best suited to safely catching, ticketing and changing the behaviours of those who cause carnage on B.C. roads.”
There are five intersections on the Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows already equipped with red light cameras that were considered. The other three are at Harris Road, Dewdney Trunk Road and 203rd Street.
The two intersections selected have had high numbers of crashes: between 2013 and 2017, there were 396 crashes at the Lougheed Hwy. and Old Dewdney Trunk interchange; and there were 302 at 207th St. and Lougheed Hwy.
But some intersections had higher incident rates.
According to Colin Hynes, spokesperson for the ministry, there were important considerations other than crash stats, such as speed data, and future plans to do roadwork at an intersection.
The Harris Rd. and Lougheed Hwy. intersection had the most crashes at 620, but Pitt Meadows council has been lobbying the province to create a new interchange there, and eliminate the traffic light on the highway.
The other two intersections with red light cameras in Maple Ridge also had a higher number of crashes than 207th. There were 452 at 203rd St. and 368 at Dewdney Trunk Road from 2013 to 2017.
Between 2012 and 2016, B.C. reported an average of 10,500 vehicles a year going at least 30 km/h over the posted speed limit, as detected by red-light cameras, which also monitor vehicle speeds.
Speed has been one of the top contributing factors in casualty crashes at these intersections, which have had a combined total of more than 11,500 collisions per year, according to the province.
“The previous government only saw fit to activate each safety camera for up to six hours a day and to target only red-light runners,” said Farnworth. “We moved quickly to fully activate the red-light cameras, and now we’re adding speed enforcement – because it works, and because we want people who travel through these busy intersections to get where they’re going safely.”
Farnworth noted that to discourage high speeds at the 35 locations, neither government nor police will disclose the speed threshold that will trigger the new cameras. That is consistent with other Canadian jurisdictions using automated speed enforcement.
Depending on continued monitoring of the camera program and evaluation of road safety outcomes, that threshold may change in the future.
“We welcome the government’s initiative of using automated enforcement tools at intersections to provide an effective, safe and impartial way of saving lives and reducing serious injuries on our roadways,” said chief constable Neil Dubord, chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee.