Opinion

CPL. CHRIS SWAIN: Cities, residents, police work together to keep streets safe

Recently, in response to community concerns, speed calming devices were installed on Aldous Terrace and Bourne Terrace in North Saanich. These roads are used as thoroughfares for many vehicles travelling between North Saanich and Central Saanich.  Speed humps were installed to slow these vehicles down.

But drivers found a way around the speed humps, thus the devices were revisited and yellow bollards – plastic posts – were put in place to ensure drivers went over the humps. On Feb. 29, someone took it upon him or herself to cut down the bollards on Bourne Terrace, just like they were clearcutting a stand of trees. This vandalism is currently being investigated.

Our municipalities receive many requests for this type of action, in relation to traffic calming devices, and have budgets to deal with any identified problems. What they can’t do is make an installation on every road that causes public concern. After listening to concerns, municipalities do their own research, usually using engineers, and make the appropriate decisions and installations, keeping public safety at the top of the priority list.

Our enforcement activities are done in a similar fashion. We want to hear from the public, and we often do, about traffic complaints in their neighbourhoods. We have the option of sending out an officer or our Speed Watch volunteers to monitor an area and then direct our enforcement activities as needed. We try to focus on high traffic and high collision areas or where the information that is collected points towards a dangerous situation developing.

I just want to give a warning though, to make sure you look after things in your own backyard before calling. Often, officers will conduct enforcement after a concern is brought forward, but then end up ticketing the person who called. Once, not long after responding to his complaints that people were drinking and driving on his street, I gave a 24 hour suspension to the same man, who I caught drinking and driving.

The message is that the municipalities and your local police force want to hear from you about your traffic concerns, and be assured they will take them seriously. They will review them and make a prudent decision, given the amount of traffic and the budget to work with, but more importantly, a decision that assists in making our roads safer. That is what it is all about isn’t it?

Cpl. Chris Swain is a supervisor and the media liaison officer for Sidney North Saanich RCMP.

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