Have a habit of driving faster than the legal limit on Whippoorwill Drive in Elmira? You’re not alone, but Woolwich Township wants to change that, this week proposing the use of radar signs to reduce speeding. The use of dynamic speed display signs, which measure each cars speed and flash it back to the driver, would slow motorists down on a stretch of road with known speeding issues, the township’s director of engineering and planning told councillors meeting Tuesday night.
“Studies have shown that such signs are effective in lowering speeds in both the long term and the short term,” said Dan Kennaley.
A 2010 traffic study showed 55 per cent of eastbound traffic exceeded the 50 km/h speed limit (with some 15 per cent doing more than 70 km/h), while 25 per cent of westbound drivers did so. The speed signs are the preferred traffic-calming measure, as stop lights or all-way stops are not warranted given the amount of traffic, he explained.
The township has already undertaken a passive measure, painting lines to effectively narrow the lanes, which encourages slower travel.
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While supportive of further investigation into the use of the signs, estimated to cost $2,000 to $4,000 apiece, councillors had reservations about Kennaley’s plan to complete another traffic monitoring study.
Such studies are typically carried out with the township’s own equipment, but there’s already a backlog of locations to be monitored, so the plan is plan to contract out some of the studies this summer, Kennaley said, adding his department is looking into the costs.
Noting that it’s clear drivers are speeding on Whippoorwill Drive, Coun. Julie-Anne Herteis said the township will have to do more than it’s done so far – “people just aren’t paying attention.”
Mayor Todd Cowan went beyond that, suggesting traffic lights, stop signs or even speed bumps would be more effective than the radar signs, which could just become part of the background ignored by drivers.
Complicating the matter is a conflict between the township’s designation of Whippoorwill as both a no-truck route and collector road, which would be expected to carry truck traffic, said Kennaley. There will be no change to the truck prohibition in the foreseeable future, however, as Woolwich wants to keep construction vehicles off of that road during the development of the sprawling Lunor subdivision on Church Street West.
As there’s no room in this year’s budget for any of the proposed traffic-calming measures, any changes would have to wait until 2013 at the earliest, he added. In the meantime, the township will be talking with other municipalities about their experience with the dynamic speed display signs.