Town Engineer Dwayne Acton says technical problems have been hampering Sackville’s efforts to reduce speeds on Pond Shore Road between Uphill Drive and Mountview Road.
In response to a series of questions from Warktimes, Acton e-mailed to say that the town has been unable to get access to data recorded by the radar speed sign it installed several months ago near retired teacher Don Gouthro’s home at 81 Pond Shore.
Gouthro has been complaining for more than a decade about excessive speeding on Pond Shore, a busy road used by school buses, cyclists, and runners.
Acton writes that radar speed signs can register the number of cars travelling on a road along with their speeds.
“However, when we transferred the sign from the King Street location to Pond Shore Road, we lost the ability to communicate with the sign to adjust settings, (and) set the ability to register the number of cars, speed etc.,” Acton writes.
“We have tried several times and are not able to connect to the sign to allow us to make these changes. Therefore, we are not able to obtain any data from this speed sign at this time,” he says, adding that the sign may have to be sent back to the manufacturer for repairs.
Gouthro says he was hoping to get access to the speed data so that he can prove to the RCMP that excessive speeding is a chronic problem in his neighbourhood, where he says drivers regularly travel more than 80 km/h in a 60 km/h zone.
“If I’m down alongside the road waiting for the school bus, I notice that some cars do actually slow down when they see their speed is over the limit, but for the most part, I don’t think it has much effect on most drivers,” Gouthro says.
He adds that the sign shows speeds to drivers who are travelling out of town toward Midgic and not to those who are heading inbound where, he says, their speeds are frequently even higher because they’re coming out of an 80 km/h zone.
When asked why the town has not installed speed signs on both sides of the road, Acton replied that the town follows advice from the RCMP on where to place the signs.
“To date, we have never placed two speed signs in one area in both directions,” he writes, suggesting that while it could be done if the RCMP recommended it, the town doesn’t have enough signs because one of its three signs was stolen a couple of years ago, a second has stopped working and is being sent back to the manufacturer for repairs, while the third is on Pond Shore Road.
Acton writes that after Gouthro appeared before town council last January, CAO Phil Handrahan asked the RCMP to step up their patrols in the area. Mayor Higham also wrote to the New Brunswick Department of Transportation asking for posted speed limits to be reduced to 50 km/h.
Gouthro said that last winter the RCMP did set up a couple of speed traps in the area and that’s when he noticed drivers began slowing down.
However, he says the Mounties are now doing drive-by patrols that don’t have much effect.
“I see the RCMP driving by and then two minutes later I see a car going like 83 or 84 kilometres (per hour) up the road behind them.”
Gouthro says he asked the police for more speed traps as recently as two weeks ago when he called to report a car travelling at 93 km/h.
“I asked them at that time if they would come up and set up a speed trap and they just simply told me that school is back in session and that they have other priorities, school zones and things that they had to look after, and they just didn’t have time do it.”