The ball is now in the province’s court when it comes to deciding if interval-based speed cameras will be installed on the Malahat.
“We’ve done everything we can to get [the province] the input and we are hopeful the input will show there’s a public appetite for it,” said Colin Plant, a Saanich councillor and chair of the Capital Regional District’s traffic safety commission.
The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General is currently in the process of sorting through the roughly 1,400 public responses it received regarding a pilot program to install point-to-point speed cameras on the popular Island highway.
Last month, the traffic safety commission asked residents to provide input on the concept of installing the cameras as a way to curb speeding. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said he would be willing to consider the project if there was enough public support.
Plant noted the commission did not get copies of the feedback from the ministry because of privacy laws, but anecdotally, has heard from residents via email, about half of whom are in favour and half whom are against installing the cameras.
As part of the proposed pilot project, a camera would capture the licence plate of a vehicle as it enters a pre-determined stretch of road, then would capture it again as it exists that stretch. Cameras would only be used to catch drivers who consistently speed over a significant stretch of the Malahat.
When it comes to enforcement, police could pull drivers over at the end of a point-to-point enforcement zone or a ticket could be mailed to the owner of the vehicle.
If all goes according to plan, and the province gives the project the green light, Plant estimates the cameras could potentially be installed within the next six months.
“We will likely see some comment from the ministry in the next month, but it would probably be three to six months before you started to see any work,” he said, noting legislation still needs to be written to allow the installation.
But Plant acknowledged speed enforcement is only one of the tools in the campaign to help make the highway safer in the long-run.
“We’re not suggesting that the only issue on the Malahat is speed, but we are saying it is something that can be mitigated through pro-active enforcement,” he said.
“Distracted driving, driving impaired and medical incidents – these are things that also cause crashes, but some of those things you can’t control … Speeding is something we definitely can control and regulate through enforcement.”