They look like utility boxes, that’s the whole idea of the thing. However inside is a photo radar camera. It’s an old tool in the city’s tool box to combat fast drivers. They were last used in 2009, but went away when the city changed vendors.
The problem has been there are many places where they can’t park a vehicle in the traditional photo radar sense because there isn’t room at the side of the road. So they’re going to this contraption that looks like a utility box, where you’d least suspect it.
“We’re seeing the Edmonton Police survey identifying speeding and careless driving as the number one complaint from the public,” said Gerry Shimko the executive director of the Office of Traffic Safety. “This allows us to deal with some additional areas where we’re getting speeding complaints where we normally couldn’t attend to before.”
Complaints from neighborhoods upset that vehicles are zooming through their communities are up considerably in the first six months of this year. The city said it received 651 complaints in 2015, but up until the end of June this year, it heard from 397 people who wanted something done about it.
“A lot of it is driven by public complaints, if not most,” Shimko said.
These photo radar cameras are being put where it’s not possible to have a a vehicle and operator to run traditional photo radar. That’s because there isn’t room at the side of the road, like has been talked about on 99 street between Whyte ave and Scona rd.
“There was a lot of concern about the speeds there and the speed surveys are confirming that we were having some speeding issues. Right now we’re trying to mitigate that with digital feedback signs but those only have a certain threshold of compliance.”
Other examples Shimko gave of where they’d like to park a commissionaire but can’t are near schools, or where there’s a lack of sidewalks so they’d wind up damaging the grass.
Anticipating the complaint of this being a ‘cash grab’ Shimko said only one grey metal unit is going to be used. “It’s not adding additional capacity it’s just reallocating that capacity to be more effective in areas we can’t operate in right now.”
The city has posted a map of locations.
St. Albert has used a similar type of system for 15 years.