We extend our appreciation to The Lake Report for its “Mind Your Meters” stories on July 27.
Those stories assisted in raising awareness of the current and growing problem of excessive speed on the roads in Old Town, Virgil and St. Davids.
While our group’s focus is on speed reduction on the lanes that pass as roads in the Chautauqua area, we certainly concur that excessive speed is not limited to our unique community.
In a series of overtures to the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake on this matter three years ago we cited that excessive speed on our narrow roads was a matter of public safety.
We were asked to defer these concerns until the completion of the NOTL transportation master plan. Indeed, when that draft document was unveiled by the previous council it made reference to the possibility of lowering speed limits in certain areas of town.
While NOTL was pondering, other communities including St. Catharines, Hamilton, Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Guelph, Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge have taken the bull by the horns and, in the interest of safety, lowered the speed limits on most residential streets.
In addition, Niagara Falls city council recently directed city staff to explore reduced speed limits.
We’re not sure of the status of the Niagara-on-the-Lake transportation master plan but we are confident that the issue of excessive speed remains prevalent and of significant concern in NOTL.
Town staff once again undertook traffic speed studies in April and May in our areas and those studies concluded that speeding wasn’t an issue.
Of course not! It’s almost impossible to retain control of a vehicle at 50 km/h on our laneways. That doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue of excessive speed.
In fact, it is probable that even 40 or 45 is too high in our area. The analysis also doesn’t capture the brief early morning, afternoon or evening spurts when the real problems emerge.
Consider just a few: herds of illegal open-piped motorcycles accelerating up Shakespeare Avenue after making the hairpin turn at the lake; people late for work ripping down the lanes bleary-eyed in the morning; cavalcades of souped-up Subarus accelerating off the turn and heading down Niagara Boulevard.
In the meantime, seemingly oblivious to lurking danger, we have children and grandchildren happily playing on the roads (remember, we have no sidewalks); moms and dads walking their kids to and from the school bus; seniors on their morning or evening walks; landscapers tending to their business but standing on the road to pull their tools.
And on it goes.
People are entitled to go about their pursuits in safety and not having to be constantly worried about being placed in jeopardy.
We have great respect for our councillors and the town administration. We value the thoughtful way in which they embrace and address issues.
In the weeks ahead, on behalf of the Chautauqua community, we intend to approach them and offer suggestions (based on our research) as to how this serious problem could be addressed in the short-term.
And yes, as indicated in your article last week, (“Chautauqua residents skeptical of town’s neighbourhood traffic study findings,“) our community would be pleased to pilot any and all measures to mitigate the problems of excessive speed in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Co-ordinators, Friends of Ryerson Park