Last time it was a cat, but next time it could be a child.
After two cats were struck dead by swift-moving vehicles on Line 2 Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake, residents worry that eventually a child could be injured on the semi-rural street.
Line 2 resident Sharon Velsink had the misfortune of finding an injured cat on the side of the road in April.
The cat was “bleeding” and “dragging his lower back leg behind him” when Velsink came out to check his condition.
She told The Lake Report it had been struck by a vehicle.
Velsink called neighbour Tanya Rice, known for her work with NOTL Cats, and the two called the Lincoln County Humane Society.
The black and white cat died of its injuries later that day after being picked up by a humane society worker.
Rice said another cat died in a separate incident in March.
Velsink has two kids, ages 11 and 13.
Her youngest has taken to cutting through a neighbour’s plum orchard on his way home from school because the drivers on Line 2 move so fast.
Like Velsink, Rice worries it a child could get hurt.
“Somewhere down the road it’s going to be a child, a youth, walking back from a friend’s house,” Rice said.
She and her neighbours are planning to go door-knocking this week to raise awareness of the speeding issues and press town council for “immediate solutions.”
They also have a petition set up on Change.Org for people who want to support their cause.
Rice points out the speed limit on Line 2 changes at its junction with Concession 6.
Once drivers cross Concession 6 on their way toward Niagara Stone Road, the limit drops to 50 km/h from 80.
“There are several signs there that say as much, but they ignore that,” Rice said.
Coun. Maria Mavridis, who helped the Line 2 residents set up the petition online last week, said she’s in favour of the solutions proposed by the residents, including sidewalks, speed bumps and lower speed limits.
Mavridis lives in the neighbourhood with her 13-year-old daughter Hope, who attends Crossroads Public School.
She said even if her and her neighbours’ kids weren’t regularly on the road, the speeds would still be a concern for her.
“I don’t know that even if they change the 80 to 60 that it would make a difference because there’s no one around to monitor that,” Mavridis said.
She was also unconvinced that speed bumps are a viable solution, based on conversations she’d had with town staff.
Amanda Nickason is so concerned about speeders that sometimes she will drive her children to school, despite it being a five-minute walk from her home on Line 2.
In an email to The Lake Report, Nickason said her two kids are also eligible for bus pickup despite being less than half a kilometre away.
To pick them up, Nickason said she has to cross Line 2 twice, so she and her kids can use the sidewalks..
Sidewalks on Line 2 stretch from Niagara Stone Road to Bourdeaux Drive, behind Crossroads.
“If we had a sidewalk put in this wouldn’t happen,” Nickason said.
While Mavridis has noticed an increase in traffic since construction began on Niagara Stone Road, neighbour Deborah Rabey said the speeding issues predate the construction.
“People got used to using it as a cut through to (Niagara Stone),” she said.
“Now that they put in some housing developments here, there’s a lot of people, a lot of children, seniors,” she added.
Rabey said she tends to avoid Line 2 whenever she’s out for a walk because cars pass at such high speeds.
She’d like to see the town install some speed bumps on either side of the crosswalk near Crossroads.
The town’s unfinished transportation plan recommends extending the school safety zone from Niagara Stone Road and Line 2, all the way to the intersection at Pierpoint Drive.
But the residents agree that if they have to wait for sidewalks and other such solutions, the town should at least install some speed bumps in the meantime.
“The kids now are just as important as the kids later,” Nickason said.