City pressed to move quickly to slow speeders
Councillor notes drivers going too fast through Orillia neighbourhoods

Teviah Moro
Local News - Friday, June 22, 2007 Updated @ 10:41:15 AM

Someone is going to die unless speed bumps, roadway planters or other traffic-calming measures are instituted to slow down drivers whipping through residential streets, Coun. Michael Fogarty said Thursday.

"People are driving way too fast and, one day, someone's going to end up dead," Fogarty told The Packet & Times.

Constituents have complained about speeders on West Ridge Boulevard, Julia Crescent and Vanessa Drive, he noted.

"You're not that important that you need to drive 70 kilometres an hour on a residential road."

Orillia OPP is on track to receive more officers with ongoing contract negotiations, which should help them nail more speeders, Fogarty said.

But council could also examine measures taken by other municipalities to slow motorists, he said: "We don't have to reinvent the wheel."

Const. Sean Mc- Teague said police do hear complaints about speeding.
Sometimes, however, it's difficult for the casual observer to gauge just how fast people are driving.

"It's people's perception were dealing with, but, quite often, they're legitimate (concerns)."

Speeding in built-up areas, including community-safety zones around schools where fines are doubled, is less tolerated, McTeague noted.

He said one traffic-calming measure, the roundabout, has a good record in Europe, and is becoming part of the landscape in some Canadian cities.

"You basically have to slow down because you're going in a circle," he explained.

But an examination of statistics would give a better idea of whether such obstacles are successful, McTeague said.

"Ultimately, everything rests upon drivers," he said.

Fogarty first mentioned the speeding issue during a debate at Monday's council committee meeting over a possible four-way stop at the intersection of Bay Street and Fittons Road.

Based on a traffic-volume, speeding and collision study, the public works department concluded a four-way stop isn't warranted, which drew fire from Coun. Don Evans.

"There is a long-standing tradition - and I'm interested to see it's still in place - of public works taking issue with the firsthand experience of residents in a particular area," said Evans, who conveyed the concerns of one area resident at council several weeks ago.

Orillia OPP agreed with the public works recommendation, as did Mayor Ron Stevens, who said council had to hang its hat on some criteria.

The study, however, is only a guideline, Coun. Wayne Gardy countered, pointing out councils have implemented traffic-calming measures in the past.

Last month, a speeding vehicle driven by a 23-year-old man, eventually charged with impaired and dangerous driving, crashed into a hydro pole on Fittons Road, sending three passengers to hospital.

The car became airborne after it crossed a knoll where the Gordon Lightfoot recreational trail intersects the road, a witness said.

The public works report stated an automobile can cross that hump without losing control if the motorist isn't exceeding the 50-kilometre-per-hour speed limit.

"Roadways cannot be designed for those individuals who do not use common sense and decide to drive a motor vehicle while impaired or choose to operate a vehicle above the speed limit," the report noted No action was taken on the public works report.