Just this week, I came across an astounding statistic about red-light cameras in Toronto.
In 2018, the cameras at a single intersection — Richmond and Parliament streets — were used to lay 6,615 charges. With a total fine of $325 for running a red, the total potential take for the city and province was more than $2.1 million (about the property tax revenue from 400 homes).
From one street corner. Why does this matter?
In a little explored part of the draft budget last week, Mayor Jim Watson announced Ottawa is getting 14 new red-light cameras, on top of the 54 already out there and the six more scheduled for installation in 2019. So, our addiction is rampantly well-established, given we had two such cameras in 2004 and will soon have 74, and we probably won’t stop there.
There is a balance between an innovative safety technology and a predatory enforcement practice. One day soon, and maybe 2020 is the year, we’ll arrive at shameless greed. (I mean, a camera at Kent and Arlington?)