The intersection at Cliffe Avenue and 17th Street in Courtenay is considered high enough risk to be part of a major expansion to the provincial red light camera program.
A new digital camera has been installed at the busy intersection but has not yet been activated.
The police, provincial government and Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) introduced the red light camera program, which places intersection safety cameras (ISC) — also referred to as red light cameras — at intersections to help reduce the high number of intersection crashes in 1999.
This year, the program is being expanded and upgraded, and dedicated digital cameras are being placed at 140 high-risk intersections in 26 communities across the province.
The camera at 17th and Cliffe is one of five being installed on Vancouver Island as part of the ISC program upgrade and expansion. Cameras are also being placed in Nanaimo, Duncan, Saanich and Victoria.
“Generally, the choice of location is focused on not necessarily the highest-volume intersections but the highest-risk intersections,” explained ICBC spokesperson Adam Grossman.
The program looked at 1,400 intersections across the province and came up with a list of 140 to be included in the upgrade and expansion.
“The ISC program has been running in the province for more than a decade, but this is the biggest expansion and upgrade,” said Grossman.
Thirty-five cameras were activated in January, and the rest will go live in batches throughout the year, explained Grossman, noting Courtenay’s new camera will likely be activated at the same time as the other cameras on the Island.
“The goal is to have them all running by the end of this year,” he said.
Before this upgrade, 30 film cameras rotated among 120 intersections in 24 communities in B.C., according to ICBC.
Much has changed since the previous camera locations were chosen more than 10 years ago, including traffic patterns and local populations, it noted on its website.
New crash data is more accurate, and this data helped the site selection team identify 140 of B.C.’s most crash- and casualty-prone intersections.
Every day, there are about 250 crashes at intersections throughout B.C., 95 per cent of them resulting in injury or death.
A 2009 ICBC study showed a five-per-cent reduction in the number of crashes causing injury and death at intersections that had a camera.