One Ponoka resident wants photo radar along Highway 53 east that heads out of town but a web poll showed that residents are wholeheartedly against the idea. File photo

Web poll: Ponoka residents do not want photo radar

A Ponoka resident suggested town council consider photo radar on Highway 53 eastbound out of town

A Ponoka resident is frustrated with the speeding on Highway 53 on the east side of town.

Warren Hart spoke to town council Jan. 23 during the public forum portion of the regular meeting voicing his concern seeing the speed limits changed on that east side portion of Highway 53. The posted limits went from 100 km/h to 50 km/h and the opposite when leaving town but that has changed recently to 100 km/h then 70 km/h before settling to 50 km/h.

“You guys are looking at one ‘POd’ tax payer…the enforcement of that speed limit is a joke,” stated Hart.

“It has done absolutely nothing to reduce the speed limit on that road.”

He wants to see better traffic enforcement and has also spoken with Alberta Transportation who stated it was the town’s request to make these recent changes. Hart called it a “runaround” and says the speed and noise (from semi tractors) have gotten worse.

CAO Albert Flootman says this has been a topic of conversation for a couple years now but there was a proposal to adjust the speed limits as it’s supposed to be staggered.

RCMP have said that when coming into town from the east, the speed from 100 km/h to 50 km/h is too steep a transition, offered Flootman.

The discussion at the time was that the staggered speed limit drop would be more noticed by motorists.

Hart’s concern is safety. He says those heading eastbound on Highway 53 turning into 38 Street are at risk because of how motorists pass those turning vehicles.

“You have been very consistent on your message Mr. Hart and we will continue to advocate with Alberta Transportation,” said Mayor Rick Bonnett.

“A speeding tax in the form of photo radar,” was the suggestion from Hart.

Bonnett said that if residents want to do that then council will support it. He recommended that Hart make a presentation to council.

Web poll results

Residents are against a photo radar system.

Ponoka News posed the question on its weekly web poll: Do you think Ponoka should have photo radar? And results show strong opposition to the idea.

Of the 122 votes, 96 spoke against the idea with 23 voting in favour and three who voted as “unsure.”

Those firmly against the idea stated a simple “No” but others were more vocal in their thoughts.

Reader Karl Norton states that photo radar has shown to be a poor deterrent to speeding. “I’d rather see the addition of another actual human sheriff, or – even more sorely needed – a bylaw enforcement officer.”

Another reader feels it’s those who go slightly over the speed limit that will be punished. “…and the real speeders never seem to get caught. And if they do it costs for warrants and court cases,” stated Patricia Zukowski.

There were others, however, who feel photo radar, in instances of school zones, would be a good idea.

“Sure, if the system is configured in a way that would target speeders with the same criteria as a live police officer would, and if its administration costs would at least break even with that criteria,” offered Graham Wesley. “I once met someone who claimed to have received a ticket via photo radar for traveling 53 km/h in a 50 zone at the bottom of a hill. That is a little excessive.”

“On the other hand, if someone’s doing 80 in a school zone, they deserve a ticket,” said Wesley. “And it doesn’t matter how they receive it. As long as what’s in between those two extremes is reasonable, it has the potential to be a good program.”

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