Speed cameras to be doubled in every ward

City council may have a reputation of being fractured along left-right lines, but one thing councillors can all agree on — even if their constituents don’t — is automated speed enforcement (ASE) cameras.

Recently council unanimously approved doubling the number of ASE devices in Toronto from 75 to 150.

That’s an increase from three ticket-dispensing cameras in each ward to six.

This comes barely two months after 25 new speed cameras were installed, bringing the total to 75, as promised by then-mayor John Tory.

speed camera sign
COMING TO A STREET NEAR YOU: Another three speed enforcement cameras may be on the way in each ward.

At that time, Tory promised an additional 75 cameras were to come.

Council fulfilled his promise on March 30 by passing a motion without debate to direct staff to look into adding 75 ASE cameras to the speed enforcement program as soon as possible.

The motion by Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie, seconded by Eglinton-Lawrence councillor Mike Colle, also asked for a report on the feasibility of improving the program further, including considering permanent installations.

Currently the cameras are installed temporarily and are moved around within each ward periodically.

Impact on racialized communities

Council received a letter from Advocacy and Public Policy Cycle Toronto, a non-profit group, supporting the move to expand the ASE program.

But the writer, interim co-executive director Alison Stewart, also sought more transparent reporting on the program, especially on the impact of the cameras on racialized communities.

“Improving the safety of all users equitably includes reducing the harm inflicted on racialized people who receive the disproportionate majority of traffic stops,” Stewart said in the letter.

Council did not directly address that concern.

The social media response to the proposed doubling of cameras has been mixed, as it has been since ASEs were first installed in 2020.

A majority of respondents have lauded the moves for improving safety, while others have criticized them as a “cash grab.”