Letter to the Editor: Red-Light Camera for Bower-Beckwith Intersection?

A couple of months back I had the pleasure of chatting briefly with Mayor Jim Watson during a door-knocking campaign in Old Ottawa East.

He was kind enough to ask if I had any issues I was concerned with. I immediately mentioned speeding on Main Street but more importantly, the red-light-running epidemic at the Bower-Beckwith intersection.

Despite clear signage and a 50km/h speed limit, this intersection continues to be a danger zone. Not a day goes by that I do not myself witness at least one car (not to mention an occasional city bus or by-law automobile) running the red light or speeding well past 70 or 80km/h to try to beat it.

I have in the past been almost struck crossing this intersection. My story is echoed by my neighbours both on Main street and in the surrounding community.

Clearly, something needs to be done. I feel it is only a matter of time before we experience an avoidable tragedy.

When Mayor Watson and I spoke he mentioned temporary red-light cameras that were available through the city as traffic calming measures. I believe the time has come to install one of these units in Old Ottawa East. The proceeds garnered due to infractions will undoubtedly offset any costs the city would incur for its installation. It might also be worth investigating a permanent unit at this intersection as part of Main street redevelopment set to begin in 2015.

Ian Grabina

Note: This letter was also sent to Watson and Coun. David Chernushenko.  Watson’s re-election campaign later announced several measures related to the issues the letter raised. Watson promised $6 million in additional funding for road safety if re-elected. He said he would increase the number of red-light cameras in the city from 33 to 53 and increase the budget of the Safer Roads program from $75K to $500K. Safer Roads is a partnership between city departments, Ottawa Police and other first responders to address distracted and aggressive driving and protect pedestrians.

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