Newmarket speeders could soon find more cameras catching them in the act as town council agreed to proceed with a new automated speed enforcement system.
Committee of the whole decided Jan. 30 to have staff advance the system, which would see more cameras placed in town to automatically ticket speeders. The details of the locations still have to be worked out, with staff indicating a more detailed report will come back in May now that council has given direction to progress the system.
Deputy Mayor Tom Vegh said speeding is the No. 1 one complaint faced by York Regional Police.
“We’ve tried different approaches, not getting the results that we want. It takes a great amount of York Regional Police resources,” he said. “(There are) a lot of advantages to using technology for this.”
A limited pilot has run in York Region for the past couple of years, including at Mulock Drive by Newmarket High School. The region reported the pilot resulted in a 12 km/h speed reduction in that area.
Manager of regulatory services Flynn Scott said the program has resulted in a 30 per cent reduction in speeds in Toronto’s pilot program.
The automated speed enforcement system entails cameras throughout the town tracking and taking photos of anyone speeding and then sending the ticket to the vehicle's registered owner. The province introduced new regulations in 2022, allowing municipalities to administer penalties via the cameras.
“I feel like jumping up and down with this report in front of me,” Councillor Bob Kwapis said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
At staff's recommendation, council decided to work toward its own processing centre for this system, versus joining in on Toronto’s.
Scott said the Toronto system has a $90,000 entry cost and takes a portion of the ticket revenue, whereas a Newmarket system would allow the town to keep total control. Staff indicated that although the exact cost of starting the program is to be determined, they believe the revenues would be greater than the costs.
The program still has room for appeal, but it is done through an officer versus any kind of court process.
Councillor Jane Twinney said it is an issue the town has battled for years.
“This is, I think, one of the most interesting and exciting things I’ve come across being on council,” she said. “It’s our No. 1 thing we hear all the time, in regard to speeding on our residential streets.”
The enforcement style will be in line with what York Regional Police do in terms of speeding, Scott said. The exact locations of cameras and how many of them will be are to be determined at a council meeting in May.
Scott further said that council could still decide to back out or change the direction of the program in May. From here, he said staff will be working with the province on the necessary approvals for the system.
The town is targeting implementing the program by September, but Mayor John Taylor said that is an ambitious timeline.
Still, Taylor said the moves show the council’s commitment to safe streets and speed mitigation. He said this is happening specifically due to resident demand.
“This is the one thing that has the potential to make the most significant impact on making our streets safer,” he said. “We’re probably going to hear at some point for some people who don’t like this, that’s quite possible … I would state if you are speeding in front of a school, I, for one, don’t have a ton of sympathy if you get a ticket.
“This is something that I would like to think every member of the community can get behind,” he added.
Council will still need to confirm the resolution at its next meeting.