Residents of Sackville’s Pond Shore Road have suffered a big setback in their 11-year campaign to get the 60 km/h speed limit in their neighbourhood reduced to 50.
A consultant’s report from WSP Canada, that cost the town between $3,000 and $4,000, says the posted speed between Uphill Drive and Mount View Road should actually be increased to 70 km/h based on an analysis of various factors including road conditions, average speeds and traffic volume.
Town Engineer Dwayne Acton told council on Tuesday that as a result, he recommends keeping the speed at 60 and installing radar devices on both sides of the road that show drivers how fast they’re going.
He said that aside from encouraging drivers to slow down, the radar devices would also gather information on speeds that the town could share with the RCMP.
Councillor Michael Tower questioned the consultant’s conclusion and called for a lower speed limit on Pond Shore.
“We want people to get out and get walking and become active,” Tower said, “and if they go out and they’re walking on the side of the road with their kids and we continue to allow the cars to fly by, that’s still going to make life miserable for them and so, the quality of life in Sackville for them is not as high as in other residential areas.”
RCMP presence needed
“We don’t have a speed limit problem, we have a speeding problem,” said Councillor Bill Evans.
“I would urge that this motion also ask that the RCMP to spend a little more time enforcing the speed limit in that area because I think that’s what’s causing the problem, not people going 60, but people speeding,” Evans added.
“That’s what we have to address and I don’t think we’ll address that by changing the speed limit.”
Acting Mayor Ron Aiken, who lives on Uphill Drive, said the consultant’s report did not take the 12 school bus stops on Pond Shore Road into account.
He also questioned where the consultant placed the three radar devices that recorded speeds and traffic volumes.
Aiken noted that the first device, near Church Street, couldn’t capture all the data because of the curve on the lower part of Pond Shore Road.
“There’s no information on the problem area,” he said. “The problem area is after Uphill Drive until you get [to] just before Mount View Road and their two [other] detecting machines are nowhere near there.”
Aiken suggested that one solution could be to install radar camera devices that would photograph speeders’ licence plates so that tickets could be sent to offenders.
But he noted that although the town would have to pay to install the devices, any speeding fine revenues would go to the province.
Residents voice concerns
During the public question period after Tuesday’s meeting, resident Don Gouthro said the consultant should have talked to Pond Shore residents about their own safety concerns as well as the safety of others who jog or cycle in the area.
“We’re very concerned as a neighbourhood that something tragic is going to happen on this road,” he said.
Gouthro added that before recent spring weight restrictions took effect, dozens of tandem trucks fully loaded with logs were coming over the hill every day.
He also noted that there are no signs indicating school bus stops and that blind hill signs were removed several years ago.
“Instead of hiring an outside firm, why doesn’t the town itself take it upon themselves to do the study of Pond Shore and come to their own conclusions?” he asked.
Laurie Ann Wesselby said she has lived for 26 years on the blind hill across the road from an elderly neighbour who suffered severe injuries in a high-speed, hit-and-run collision in December 2019.
She added that after that crash, the RCMP were very visible in the area, but that visibility ended after a couple of weeks.
“My office window is facing the road and just during this meeting alone, I counted over 100 cars in the last hour and 15 minutes,” she noted and asked whether the town was considering safety improvements such as installing sidewalks and better street lighting.
The town engineer responded that there is no immediate plan for sidewalks on Pond Shore, but that the adequacy of lighting and signage in the area could be evaluated.
Adam Campbell said he had young children when he first moved to the neighbourhood nine years ago.
“At the time, we didn’t feel safe walking the road with a stroller, so we would load the kids and stroller into the truck and drive to a safer spot to walk,” he said.
Now that the children are a little older, they like to bike, Campbell added.
“We do the same thing, we load four bikes and four people into my truck to drive down to the trail at the lake,” he said.
“The reason we do that is because of safety concerns.”
Campbell said he’d feel a lot safer, if council would ask the RCMP to step up enforcement on a stretch of road that has a blind corner at one end and a blind hill at the other.
“I can drop a note to the RCMP and ask them to step up enforcement up there,” Acting Mayor Aiken replied.
This is an open letter to Sackville’s Acting Mayor and our Town Councilors.
The speed limit on Folkins Drive is of course 50 kph. It is definitely a much safer road with considerably less vehicular and pedestrian traffic than the Pond Shore Road has. If these highly paid ‘professionals’, that said Pond Shore Road speed limit should be increased to 70 kph were hired to do a report on Folkins,Drive, would they recommend that the speed limit there be increased to 90 kph? That would only make sense if one went by their ill conceived logic.
Throw that darned report in the garbage and just apply some common sense to the whole issue. Pond Shore Road is an old upgraded horse and buggy pathway that has narrow shoulders, blind corners, one blind hill, 12 school bus stops, a huge amount of guardrail, pavement that is now starting to break up, many dozens of driveways and two intersecting residential streets.
Just lower the speed limit to 50 kph, as you now have the power to do so, and look at proper policing for the area.
Safety of our citizens should be top priority here!!
Queens Road between Fairfield and Lorne is more heavily trafficked, has chronic speeding problems, sees constant industrial traffic (transport trucks, logging trucks, etc.), and has *TWO SCHOOLS* along it. I empathize with Mr. Campbell and others along Pond Shore, but I believe the town should investigate traffic mitigation efforts along Queens Road before dedicating any more resources to Pond Shore.
For starters, instead of another sign out on Pond Shore, Mr. Acton could replace the radar speed sign that was seemingly removed from the front of Salem Elementary in order to be placed out on Pond Shore!
Here we have a safety issue regarding the entire Pond Shore Rd, which has repeatedly been looked at over at least 12 years – with still no satisfactory resolution in sight. This is even AFTER recently paying a consulting company to give their ‘professional opinion’, which the Town then chose to ignore.
Contrast that with the recent poorly handled issue of lifting the bylaw ban against allowing skateboards on town streets. That issue was hastily taken to Council for a vote – with no prior ‘study’, not even consulting with our Town solicitor or Insurance provider.
In essence, we have two completely polarized approaches to a matter of public safety, from the same governing body.
One would expect more consistency than this from our municipal government.
Here is an example of what town residents who regularly use Pond Shore Road are dealing with. Yesterday when driving north on Pond Shore Road at the posted speed limit of 60 km/hr a car was tailgating me from Church Street to the two blind hills in the area of Four Corners Lane (people talk about the blind hill there but there are actually two due to a dip in the road after the first hill going northbound). It was in this area that the car tailgating me passed me and just managed to get back into our lane before an oncoming car that was hidden by the second blind hill met him – there is a solid line in this area indicating it is not safe to pass but it had not effect on the idiot who passed me. Just past the blind hill an idiot in a truck that was following the first idiot passed me as well, again still on a solid line, but at least he could see whether there was oncoming traffic or not. This was one of many times in the last few years that I have been passed in this area while driving the posted speed limit.
We definitely need more of a police presence along this road but unfortunately we rarely see police cars monitoring the speeds of vehicles there. If the RCMP are too stretched in their duties covering other areas outside of the town of Sackville then perhaps it is time that council considers reinstating a town police force that would be responsible solely for patrolling the roads within the town limits. The town had it’s own police force for years and it always seemed to work well from what I remember growing up here.
It seems the RCMP are no longer in the highway patrol business. If they no longer patrol the Trans Canada in New Brunswick it would be doubtful they have much interest in Pond Shore Road. I’m not sure what the RCMP do anymore, perhaps they are so busy investigating themselves they don’t have the manpower to police.