It would be a particulary safe bet the term ‘speed humps’ won’t be coming forth in any County Council deliberation unless it’s utilized as a part of cautionary tale against further such pilot projects without a robust round of public input and debate. A very public rebuke of the attempt to make Cherry Valley safer for motorists and residents living along the roadway led to the quick removal of the speed humps dotted throughout the village this week.
While the project was expected to cast taxpayers somewhere between $26-32,000, cost of the removal will wind up leaving the price tag of this little experiment somewhere in the neighbourhood around $40,000 all in. After last week’s council meeting and the throng of verbal stones fired the municipality’s way, you can safely assume local residents will hear well in advance of all proposed traffic calming measures for any small village or hamlet in Prince Edward County. The people spoke and they spoke loudly both at the meeting and on social media.
It’s right to chastise municipal government in this folly. An ounce of public notice and consultation would have been worth a pound of political prevention if the outcry could have come before the motion from the Traffic Advisory Committee was tabled at the horseshoe last year.
Blame can also be pointed at the local media and Canada’s Oldest Community Newspaper is intertwined in that criticism. There was a day not too long ago when highlights from the minutes from sub committees and boards of council would hit the reader’s eye long before motions contained therein were ever discussed at a council meeting at Shire Hall. In the days of two broadsheet newspapers per week to fill, a round up from the most recent Police Services Board meeting or a story coming out of Planning ahead of a Thursday night deadline was manna from heaven to local editors. A decline in pulp-based real estate sadly means less coverage.
In this most recent case, installed speed humps led everyone-local reporters included- to start digging into the Traffic Advisory Committee minutes to see how and when the seed of this traffic calming measure was planted. That’s a failure on our part to dig deeper and at least offer a paragraph or two on matters winding and wending their way to the council chamber.
So the humps are gone-a $40,000 blight on a new(ish) council looking to install faith with the local electorate. But the rub here is the Valley still has its traffic speed issues. Canvass any home owner on either end of the portion of County Road 10 where it the village starts in earnest and it’s a safe assumption most will scoff when asked if drivers obey the posted speed limit when zooming past their door. The hills on the southern side of East Lake left after glacial Lake Iroquois receded about 13,000 years ago have made for some sudden and steep declines that can lead to surprised motorists doing nearly double the speed limit in a hurry if they aren’t careful.
In places where speed humps were being eyed as traffic calming solutions, residents would more than likely ask council to look into making their community safer if asked.
Rosehall. Bloomfield. Wellington. Rednersville. Outlet. Northport. All have build ups of homes where posted speed limit transitions are more of a suggestion than a hard and fast rule lest an member of the local constabulary is hanging nearby and people living in those areas tend to be concerned with the rate of speed of the interlopers passing through.
Perhaps more OPP officers on traffic patrol and speed traps are the answer but the personnel cost to general patrol and the monetary cost to the policing budget needs to be carefully examined before any decision is made.
Humps were clearly not the answer in Cherry Valley.But ignoring ratepayers concerned with the safety of their children and their homes isn’t either.
PICTURING OUR COMMUNITY