The City of London has started issuing speed-camera tickets in school zones.
The fines come after several months of warning by notice and by mail.
One of the first cameras is installed along Thompson Road, near Adelaide Street. There, traffic moves steadily through the Princess Elizabeth Public School area.
According to Barb Tonn, it doesn’t matter whether the school is about to let the kids out or not.
A school crossing guard for 32 years, she has seen far too many close calls. “I’m so scared they’ll hit. They got closer several times.
London, Ont. school crossing guard Barb Tonn on Feb. 23, 2022. (Sean Irvine CTV News)
To reduce the risk of drama, security measures are in place. They include a reduced speed limit, signage and the pedestrian crossing.
But now the City of London is trying another method: speed enforcement. After a period of warnings in January, automated surveillance cameras were put into operation.
“So, yes, they do generate infractions or tickets,” says city parking and traffic officer Shane Maguire.
Maguire says the cameras will issue fines identical to those issued by police officers, who follow a grid, based on the number of miles over the limit a vehicle has traveled.
For example, a vehicle exceeding the limit by 20 km would be subject to a fine of $90, and 40 km more would be subject to a fine of $280.
However, automated municipal fines will not be subject to demerit points and will be imposed on the owner of the vehicle, not the driver.
Maguire wouldn’t say if those who go a few miles over the limit will receive tickets.
“What is the threshold? This is something we cannot discuss or will discuss,” he said.
But the city will talk about why the cameras are operational in two places. Beyond Princess Elizabeth, Maguire says another is placed near the FD Roosevelt Public School on Second Street in northeast London.
“We have done research before and identified places in the city where we have a problem with speeding in school zones. And these will be the areas targeted by the automated speed control.
A speed camera near Princess Elizabeth Public School in London, Ontario. Feb. 23, 2022. (Sean Irvine CTV News)
Ultimately, the project is about child safety. It’s something a grandparent told CTV London he was happy to see, as he picked up his daughter from Princess Elizabeth. “It slows down some of the traffic. It makes a difference. I think it should be in every school district. Keep children safe.
A mom picking up her 4th grade son agrees.
“I hope so, I know there are a lot of drivers going through the area quite quickly and I hope that slows them down.”
The cameras will remain in their current location for a few more weeks before moving. They will continue to be placed in high-traffic, high-speed school zones for at least the next five years. During this time, the difference they make, or don’t make, will be analyzed.
Either way, Barb Tonn is grateful the town is trying something new to protect children at her crossing. However, she is not convinced that the fines will encourage drivers to slow down.
“I don’t think so, because they’ve already been warned and that never stopped them.”