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Fed up with reckless drivers

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Residents along College Avenue who have endured traffic scofflaws on their street for years say they are fed up with the problem.

Representatives of the Burrows Central Safety Committee said motorists appear to be using College Avenue instead of Mountain Avenue in order to avoid traffic lights and duck speed traps.

The committee has also raised concerns about large trucks and semi-trailers driving down the street, speeding, and drivers ignoring stop signs on a regular basis.
The committee has been in contact with the city to try and resolve the issue, but progress has been slow.

"It’s a situation we’re monitoring. We’ve had some complaints by the residents down the street, and I’ve also noticed it too, when I’m doing my kids crafts program (at the Burrows Resource Centre)," said committee member Irene McConachy.

McConachy, who is currently the committee’s only member, said the problem is especially concerning during the summer when there are more children playing outdoors and a higher concentration of traffic on the road.

Resident Sandra Olson, who has lived on College for decades, said the problem has been an ongoing concern for the past 20 years.

She launched a petition calling for changes on the street several years ago, but her efforts were unsuccessful. Olson said she’s observed drivers going down the street at speed as high as 70 mp/h, and she’s had all she can take.

"I’ve been here over 30 years. I don’t want to see anything happen to our neighbourhood, and we have to take it back. It’s for our kids," she said.

"I have an autistic child. He wants to come to the park... but I don’t trust the drivers coming through this area, there is no respect shown or given to these kids. They don’t even slow down when they come to the park."

McConachy has been engaged in ongoing discussions with the city’s community services department. The safety committee has suggested several ideas to address the problem including posting speed monitoring devices and a greater police presence in the area.

"We haven’t had a chance to really address it in the last year... we’re still monitoring it and keeping an eye on it, but definitely these are some things we’re thinking of trying to put into place come summertime," she said.

Olson said speed bumps would help to curb speeding on the street, and is frustrated the city appears unwilling to install them.

"If we can’t have a speed bump, can you tell me why St. James residential areas have speed bumps? We pay taxes too, these are our streets," she said.

McConachy stated she was informed by a city representative that a traffic assessment would have to be undertaken before speed bumps could be considered and the study would be too costly to undertake at that time.

Tammy Melesko, a communications staffer with the city, told the Times the department of public works has yet to receive a request for a study into the roadway.

Whether or not speed bumps are put onto a street is dependent on a set of standard criteria, including a minimum lane length of 100 metres, a speed study indicating a significant speeding problem, and the receipt of at least a 70% supporting petition from nearby residents.

Olson believes drivers are diverting from Mountain to avoid speed traps along that road, and suggested the speed limit on Mountain should be raised if it would get dangerous drivers off College. Regardless of what the solution is, Olson said something needs to be done before someone is injured on the street.

"How devastating is that going to be if one child gets hit? It cripples the whole neighbourhood, and it’s not right. It’s not fair," she said.

"I won’t stop. As long as I’ve got kids, as long as I’ve got breath... This is my neighbourhood. I don’t want somebody coming in and having total disregard for the years we’ve put into this."

McConachy said she will continue to meet with the city about the community’s concerns.
In the meantime, residents who notice dangerous driving along the street are encouraged to call 311 and report it, or email the Burrows Resource Centre at brc@mts.net.

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