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.”
As has been mentioned by others, why don’t they just use photo radar. It seems that everything, except the capability of taking photos, is a component of these existing signs. It was Mayor Bob Berry that pushed to acquire the three existing radar only signs and now we have none that actually work properly.
Will the Town Council approve the purchase of maybe 5 photo radar systems, for distribution around Town, and then ask the Province for approval to install on the Provincial designated highway sites, before the actual purchase is made?
Will it take the death of someone to motivate those responsible? We, as a community, have to do whatever we can to make our streets and roads safer. This is a NEED and not a WANT.
And the excuses keep piling up like so much garbage! Shameful. I applaud Mr. Gouthro for his unrelenting efforts to reduce the vehicular speed through this area. It’s obvious that it will take a tragedy for the Town and the RCMP to take effective action. And has the Dept of Transportation responded to the request for reduced speed limit signs and, if not, what’s the follow-up?
Mr. Acton is a terrific, patient, competent, and accessible employee of the Town but it is simply out of his scope of job description to monitor speeders isn’t it? The problem lies with the people who choose to speed so why don’t you all consider this a lesson in rural life.. because clearly the police cannot be everywhere all the time in the Tantramar .. speeders are a fact of life but the people who live in that stretch of town could use sidewalk chalk on the road that says ‘SLOW DOWN’ IN LARGE LETTERS IT MIGHT HELP – cameras are intrusive and expensive — be mindful of asking Big Brother for access to your privacy.. should I really have to say it?
You are correct – it isn’t the Town Engineer’s job to monitor speeders – it’s the responsibility of the police force paid by the Town to keep its residents safe. I have been told by individuals who work in emergency services in Sackville that the RCMP does not have a 24 hour presence and are busy in the Shediac area during the wee hours of the morning. Someone who has more knowledge about this can correct me if this is not true – it would be nice to know whether or not this is in fact the case. If the police force that the Town of Sackville hires to protect its citizens doesn’t have a presence in town 24 hours a day, then they obviously ‘cannot be everywhere all the time in the Tantramar…’. I have personally called the RCMP about this issue on Pond Shore Road and the best they could do was to tell me to write down the license plates of the vehicles in question. I do not see how this would be of any help since this would be a case of ‘he said, he/she said’, and I can’t imagine that this would be considered valid evidence to charge a motorist with exceeding the speed limit.
This raises the question of how the annual cost to the town for RCMP service would compare to the cost of maintaining a town police force, as was the case for many years in Sackville. If the town had its own police force that is only responsible for patrolling within the town limits, rather than surrounding areas as well, does it not make sense that the police force have more time and resources to monitor speeding on the town roadways.
Regarding the idea of local residents in the problem area putting up signage themselves to try to encourage speeders to slow down, we’ve been there, done that, which anyone who actually travels on this road would know. There is already at least one sign that a resident has placed by the roadside and it doesn’t appear to have had any effect on ‘those who choose to speed’. The concern about invasion of privacy by ‘Big Brother’ is a legitimate issue, but in this case, with ‘speeders being a fact of life’, speed cameras might be a necessary evil if the local motorists are not adult enough and concerned with other’s safety to obey the posted speed limits.