June 13th, 1968 front page The Canadian
Facebook–Bill Russell—-“After seeing yet another distraught family comforting their poor dog on JOHN STREET this morning I must ask. Will it take the injury or death of a child in this neighborhood to slow people down. It’s like a dragstrip before and after school and school buses are no exception. Most drive just like the kids pedal to the medal in between stop signs”.
Last night I stayed up late trying to do some research for some solutions for the car racers on our streets of Carleton Place. Did you know that if you were hit tomorrow by a car traveling 40MPH, only 1 out of 10 of you would survive? That blew me away. The town council can listen to your pleas — and maybe offer a few solutions, but we need to begin some sort of personal campaign- as it is up to all of us to work together.
When a child was killed on a street where I once lived, the residents decided something had to be done. No matter what signs were erected, how many speed bumps were placed. the constant speeding drug dealers were still a huge threat to life. Finally, the neighbourhood came together to work on the issue. Slowing down reckless drivers is no quick fix and it is something the town oficials and its residents have to work together on.
Rather than ask the council for some ‘ugly, authoritarian’ road markings to attempt to slow cars down, some residents of towns and cities encourage drivers to respect the street instead. Even though the effects of an anti-speeding public awareness campaigns may not be immediate and substantial; they can help change the social acceptability of speeding and alter drivers’ beliefs that they are better and safer than other drivers. What have we got to lose?
Copy the graphic above and put it on your Facebook page and encourage your neighbours to share it. Use yard signs to remind drivers to slow down. Because many drivers sometimes use the excuse of speeding to merely to keep up with traffic, set the pace by driving at or below speed during peak times in your neighbourhood forcing other drivers behind you to travel at your safe courteous speed.
Did you know speed limits alone have little effect on actual vehicle speeds? Can you believe that? Higher fines and penalties, do not continue to reduce speeds. Reducing posted speed limits will typically decrease actual average vehicle speeds by only one-fourth of the reduction. I did not make this up, it was in several articles I read.
Again, erecting stop signs along residential roads will not force drivers to slow down and pressuring elected officials and traffic engineers to erect new stop signs can sometimes be fruitless. The unintended effects may be that drivers speed up mid-block to make up for lost time, thereby keeping average speeds high, increasing acceleration noise and decreasing fuel efficiency.
Let’s try using simple lawn signs, speed display boards, warning letters, or personal appeals. These campaigns can convey more heartfelt messages to speeders about the risks they create. After seeing the signs we personally erected in my former neighbourhood some “neighbors” that were speeding seemed to get somewhat of a guilt complex when driving down our street with multiple signs posted on both sides of the street. Get your neighbors involved and have signs posted up and down the block. If signs can slow down some drivers in Beckwith for turtles, maybe there is a possibility they might lower their speed in town for a child or pet.
If parking is allowed on both sides of the street have neighbours park on each side naturally slowing traffic. When cars are allowed to park on either side it forces motorists to slow down. A twist on the conventional public awareness campaign that discourages speeding is a campaign that encourages obeying the speed limit. In some campaigns of this sort, police have achieved positive results by stopping drivers and thanking them for obeying the speed limit; in others, signs have been posted indicating the percentage of drivers obeying the speed limit.
What do we need in Carleton Place? Speed display boards measure oncoming vehicles’ speeds and prominently display the speeds to drivers. Research has shown that speed display boards reduce speeds and crashes, seem at least as effective as speed cameras and are more cost-effective. Speed display boards are particularly effective with drivers who do not pay attention to their speed. Large, changeable-message signs that combine site-specific messages with speed displays have effectively reduced speeds by as much as nine mph in and around school speed zones. of course these signs are more effective when supplemented with police enforcement—in this combination, the effect can last several weeks after they are removed. I have noticed radar signs on Rochester Street– more of these are needed to make people aware.
Reclaim your street by walking or biking in your neighbouhood. When you’re in a place where you’re welcome as a guest, you treat it with respect and the research suggests this will happen. Again your words on Facebook can be powerful, but put those words into action. Don’t let what happened yesterday happen again. Working together as a neighbourhood can make changes happen. What have you got to lose?