WINCHESTER – It’s rudimentary investigating at best, but even so, Deputy-Mayor Al Armstrong is making his case that the driving public in North Dundas has clear disregard for the speed limits on village streets.
This comes after a recent Saturday spent observing the decision making of drivers along St. Lawrence Street in Winchester, many who were certainly moving above the posted 50-kilometres-per-hour limit of the roadway.
“I’m thinking maybe it is time we move toward lower speed postings in hamlets, villages and built up areas in North Dundas,” Armstrong said during a recent council meeting. “It seems like people have gotten into the habit of going a lot quicker than they should be.
At the aforementioned intersection of Main and St. Lawrence Streets in particular, the deputy-mayor noted that not only are many drivers speeding, they are also rolling through the stop sign or blowing past it altogether.
“It’s happening so much so that it really stood out,” Armstrong said. “Maybe we do need to get the OPP up there more… Now is the time for action on this. It shouldn’t be that it stands out when people actually stop.”
North Dundas has made efforts in recent years to curb speeding on village streets, including the erection of an automated sign that charts a vehicles speed. The marker has been moved to different locations through the township since its purchase.
In Winchester specifically, flex signs were positioned in the middle of the street along stretches of Main and St. Lawrence last summer. The signs were met with a great deal of backlash, however, and were quickly removed after many drivers purposefully hit and damaged them.
The same type of markers were put up along Christie Lane, as well, but were not returned this year after numerous resident complaints. Homeowners along the street are now unhappy with the posted 50-kilometre signs, and have called on council to lower the speed limit.
“There really is nothing so urgent in our built up areas that we should jeopardize safety,” Mayor Tony Fraser said.
Councillor Gary Annable also floated the idea of reducing the speed along the western section of Main Street where it is currently 60-kilometres-per-hour.
“We’ve got the new apartment building going up, and the Wellings plan,” he said. “This is something I’ve thought about for a long time.”
Fraser noted that according to recent OPP numbers, the total for speeding tickets issued has dropped. Though it is likely linked to the shortage of police personnel throughout the United Counties.
The mayor also discussed the possibility of adopting a “community safety zone” procedure, where the total on speeding tickets are doubled when drivers are caught in that area.
“Getting nicked for twice the amount may work to slow some people down,” he said.
No matter, Armstrong urged his council to support a plan to “get something done” about the speed violations.
“It really would need to be an education campaign,” he said. “But maybe it is time to get a little firmer for the safety of our citizens.”