A third Spit speed camera

Manly Daily

Thursday 13 June 2002

by John Morcombe

DRIVERS using the Spit hill are now the most photographed in NSW following the placement of a third speed camera along the 500m stretch south of the Spit Bridge.
The third camera has attracted criticism from various sources - but for very different reasons.

The new camera will be placed halfway up the Spit hill, opposite Pearl Bay Ave, and will photograph cars heading rip the hill to the city.

The camera is only 250m uphill from the camera erected a1 the foot of the Spit hill in November, 2000, which also photographs cars heading up the hill, and the camera near the corner of Beauty Point Rd, which photographs northbound cars before they enter the dangerous S-bends.

The camera at the foot of the Spit has earned the State Government about $7 million a year since its introduction, making it one of the most profitable speed cameras in NSW.

The RTA said it had placed the third camera halfway up the hill in response to representations from Mosman Council to Roads Minister Carl Scully.

But Mosman Mayor Jim Reid said he only wanted the camera at the foot of the Spit hill moved uphill to force motorists to slow down before they reached the S-bends.
"Leaving the original camera at the foot of the Sprit hill is only revenue raising," he said.

"I think itís bureaucratic stupidity. "I told Mr Scully that people slowed down to pass the camera at the foot of the hill then accelerated up the hill towards the S-bends.

"The new" camera doesn't give them time to speed up before the S-bends."

Mr Reid said the camera at the foot of the Spit hill had increased accidents in the area.

Statistics released by the RTA in March showed the accident rate had doubled since the introduction of the camera at the foot of the Spit hill.

Wakehurst MP Brad Hazzard said the third speed camera was evidence that the State Government saw the northern beaches as "its principal cash cow".

"The sooner Mr Scully is given the public guillotine the better for northern beaches residents," he said.

Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby said it was ridiculous that fixed speed cameras could only photograph the rear of cars heading up the hill and not the front of cars heading down the hill.

He has asked the Auditor-General to investigate the anomaly.

"The police can use their mobile speed cameras to photograph the front or back of cars and so can fixed speed cameras in other states," he said.

"It's annoying that fixed speed cameras in NSW can't be used in both directions - why not use them to their full capacity?

"The greatest danger is cars coming down the Spit hill, not up, so why don't the cameras photograph cars coming down the hill?"

An RTA spokesman said privacy regulations prevented the RTA photographing the front of cars, while a police spokeswoman said the police were not affected by any privacy laws preventing them photographing the front of cars.

The RTA said the two cameras facing up the Spit hill would operate alternately and that motorists would not know which one was operating and would therefore obey the speed limit all the way up the hill.