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York Region expanding automated speed enforcement

Data shows cameras reduced driving speed by 12 km/h near Newmarket High School, where the one camera in Newmarket currently operates
Automated speed enforcement camera
File photo

York Region is preparing to expand its automated speeding cameras after data indicates the enforcement plunged speeding, including by 12 km/h around Newmarket High School on Mulock Drive.

Regional council committee of the whole authorized the continued use of the cameras today, June 16, along with establishing an administrative penalty system for them. Council also approved two additional cameras to come in 2022/2023, at an additional cost of $250,000.

Staff provided data showing that the camera has reduced average operating speed on every road they were used, plus getting increased speed limit compliance. On average, speeds dropped by nine km/h after enforcement, with a 28 per cent increase in speed limit compliance. 

“I’m hoping that over time, the number gets to a level that those that speed in our community at schools or elsewhere can’t be sure there is one right near where they’re speeding,” Markham Councillor Jack Heath said. “This is just one step. A long way to go.”

The region began a two-year pilot in November 2020 for automated speed enforcement on several regional roads near school zones to address speeding. Staff said they plan to continue the expansion in the future, with another 60 cameras planned for installation from 2024 to 2026.

There are currently 10 cameras in the region, with only one in Newmarket on Mulock, east of Fairbank Road near Newmarket High, which has a 50 km/h limit from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 60 km/h otherwise. The region found average speed went from 68 km/h to 56 km/h after enforcement began. The cameras also increased speed limit compliance by 26 per cent, from 16 per cent to 42 per cent.

Mayor John Taylor vocally supported the program before the council meeting.

“The No. 1 concern of residents in the town of Newmarket and across York Region is speeding in residential areas,” Taylor said on Facebook. “Future speeding on our streets will be caught on camera and penalized — our communities will be safer for it.”

Staff said an automated administrative penalty system could potentially allow the program to fully recover program costs. Expenses for the program are expected to be $3 million in 2023, ramping up with the number of cameras to cost $18 million by 2026.

“Our goal is to have automated speed enforcement in every single community safety zone,” director of roads and traffic operations Joseph Petrungaro said.