MASSEY DRIVE — Mayor Gord Davis is worried it’s only a matter of time before someone is killed by a speeding motorist in Massey Drive.
While speeding has been an issue in the town for some time, Davis said as the community has grown and the roads have improved, the problem seems to have gotten worse.
With this in mind, he recently asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to boost patrols in the area.
“We’re just hoping for them to show more presence ...at the more opportune times like when kids are going to school or people are going back and forth to work,” Davis said Wednesday.
He said speeding isn’t only a problem on the main road, but also on sideroads such as Link Pond Drive, where even school bus drivers appear to be part of the problem.
“They are flying,” he said. “We’ve spoken to the school bus depot several times in the past but it seems like nothing changes with the drivers themselves. They all have their own minds and ways of driving I guess.”
In addition to the RCMP, Davis would like to see the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary start giving tickets for blatant offences witnessed in town in much the same way the RCMP does occasionally in Corner Brook, despite the city being technically outside its jurisdiction.
To boost safety, the town is installing sidewalks along the main road in the spring. There will also be an enhanced crosswalk complete with a push button and lights installed near the town hall within the next several months.
The area where the main road crests near the Town Hall is a major concern for Davis since motorists often speed past children on the crosswalk. It’s for this reason that Davis says his two daughters have never walked to their bus stop since its simply too dangerous.
Davis said he’s gotten so concerned that he has often pulled his vehicle over in order to help children safely cross the street.
“Last week there were about 10 or 15 cars who passed right by two kids on the crosswalk,” he said. “I pulled my truck out in the middle of the road and another six or seven cars passed by. I got out of the truck and waved the kids across. It’s ridiculous that it even has to happen.”
Prior to becoming mayor, Davis also approached council about dropping the speed limit along the main road from 50 km/h to 40, but was turned down.
It’s a notion Sgt. Terry Foster of the RCMP intends to revisit and suggest when he attends a council meeting at the town’s request next month.
According to Foster, such an initiative has worked nicely in deterring speeding in communities like Pasadena and Deer Lake.
“When you lower the speed limit in a zone, when you get stopped for speeding the penalty is much greater,” Foster said. “I think generally people tend to pay attention and say ‘if I get caught at 20 or 30 over in this 40-zone, it’s going to cost me a lot of money’... if you are in a 40-zone and you are 10 over, that’s quite a bit.”
Since being contact by Davis this week, Foster said the RCMP have put an action plan in place to increase patrols in the community. Members with Traffic Services West also started patrolling the town on Tuesday.
With 14 communities to police in his jurisdiction, Foster said while speeding is a common concern, it’s often difficult to catch. For this reason, he’s hopeful by working with the town and residents, the problem can be greatly curbed.
“We’re going to look at how we can work together,” he said.
“When traffic becomes an issue in the community, it’s not just the police that has to solve it. It needs to be a community-based policing approach.
“The mayor has the best interests of the community in mind and we are going to try to alleviate these concerns.”