Ward 9 and speeding drivers

As I canvas different parts of the ward, I’m hearing frequent complaints about voters and their children put at almost risk by drivers speeding through residential neighbourhoods.

Based on personal experience — we have low-rise speed bumps on the narrow street in front of our Ward 9 Victoria Park home — I’m convinced more research should be done to find better ways to slow those drivers down.

Sometimes, Canada geese and ducks meandering across park roads seem more effective at traffic calming than speed bumps.

To help focus attention on that ongoing, dangerous situation, I wrote the following letter to the editor at the Waterloo Region Record using the subject of red-light cameras as a way to draw attention to those reckless drivers.

The letter was published today (Thursday):

“After experiencing several scary near-collisions at Kitchener intersections because impatient or negligent drivers ran red lights, I almost choked on my Cheerios reading Jeff Outhit’s predictable bleating about red-light cameras.

Outhit — risking whiplash from driving both ways at once — says research shows 16 cameras at regional intersections are improving safety and reducing accidents. He then pontificates about  “judicious” use of cameras because they should be a safety measure, not a government cash cow.

His concern is based on the fact cameras that result in $325 individual fines have become a healthy revenue source that, this year,  provided a $1 million windfall for regional government. Outhit worries drivers might become cynical about cameras if they see  them as a government cash grab.

Give me a break.

Red-light cameras improve road safety and we need more, particularly at intersections located near schools, parks or residential neighbourhoods.

The region should use some of that dollar deluge to research more effective traffic-calming devices.

Such devices could help improve safety in Mill Courtland, St. Mary’s, Cherry Hill, Cedar Hill, Victoria Park and numerous other neighbourhoods where residents have, for years, been complaining about speeding, dangerous drivers.

Frank Etherington, candidate for Kitchener City Council (Ward 9).”

This entry was posted in Greener City, Speeding Traffic, Where's Frank. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Ward 9 and speeding drivers

  1. Darleen Witmer says:

    I do not agree with the Red Light increase or the cameras at all – due to fact that I have been almost hit not once but 3 times in one day, at Ottawa and Homer Watson due to drivers running yellow and turning left in front of me. Also do not believe is accurate in all cases. I think we could do more by STOPPING right hand turns on red, and making all Left Hand turns at major intersections to be separate controlled light – such as at King and Montgomery.

    Why do we need money to sort out ways for traffic calming?
    Of course if you look at what was done to road improvements on Caroline behind Waterloo Town Square and also Belmont and Union, and William turning onto Park > I wonder what school the traffic planners went to. The markings on the road are crazy, and extra medians of cement put in are going to be great hazards in winter snow, icy days. I have researched online and found within 10 minutes that all these tactics have failed elsewhere.

    If you want to create calm and slower drivers – drop the speed limit to 40 km as most drivers drive 10 km above speed limit.

    I am sure that can review other cities experiences without spending excessive dollars.
    I did a quick Google and was able to find several reports and findings from other cities, and found this one that makes much more sense than fines, or speed bumps (only effective at speed bump location), and takes into consideration the average sane motorist. We must remember that we are dealing with people on both sides of the issue. http://www.lesstraffic.com/Articles/Traffic/SGTC.htm — interesting. Many others have already gone through and information is free and available online – except for time to research of course.

    Check out what Haysville did — as my husband and I drive through on motorcycles. They had drivers going through their village at over 100 km, although posted to 60 and then 50 km. What worked? The residents getting out on the side of road and getting involved, and also posting speed signs to show how fast each driver going at 2 spots — and also did have times that police were on site to issue tickets. The police are rarely there now, but people do drive at 50 – 55 km through this small village – after the residents got involved and waved to drivers and were – well just present.

    Another effective method for particularly younger drivers is a video that is making the rounds currently on Facebook. It is horrific to watch – but very effective
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-nFE-ZJmxJKQ/unsafe_driving_video/

    I find that rain slows people down ridiculously – so maybe we can create rain showers in the difficult areas 🙂

  2. Frank Etherington says:

    Some good points but…
    In Victoria Park, speed limits are 20 and 30 kms. Most drivers hit the park at 40-60 kms. despite periodic police radar traps outside The Boathouse on Jubilee Drive.
    On our street, despite speed bumps, many are doing about 50 kms.
    We have had machines monitoring Jubilee traffic and reflecting speeds on a large screen. It does very little to control speeding.

  3. I would suggest that cars should not be driving through Victoria Park at all. Jubilee Drive would be better off as a park avenue rather than a through connection between major 50 km/h roads. When I drive I certainly find it convenient, but I don’t think it outweighs the damage the road does to the park.

    In my opinion your letter was right on the mark.

  4. Darleen Witmer says:

    And what have the residents of the area done? Have any stood outside and waved at the speeders – with a smile. Held a sign stating – Slow Down You’re Going too fast!! …
    When I was a child, we often went to Victoria Park on Sundays, and there were so many people walking about, that there was no speeders – or at least not during the daylight hours. I really think that different tactics need to be taken to get a better agreement between motorists and residents. I myself have found myself speeding, and quickly slow down – as I have simply forgot and concentrating on where I am headed. Larger brightly coloured signs etc with more positive message – This is your park – go slow.
    On the opposite side of this – on my street people could speed down the street and I would never know, as I am rarely out front of my house – but then I chose this area due to the quiet and lack of traffic. We do get a lot of ambulance sirens going behind us, an helicopter noise due to living so close to the hospital.

    There are other options available for traffic calming – speed tables, cobblestone streets, speed cushions, hmm … there must be a solution that is effective for the right reasons, and does not make people deviant.

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