A mother of two small boys who lives on a busy stretch of North Christina Street says she is tired of vehicles racing past her house at 80-to-110 kilometres per hour.
“The strip along here is so long and straight, they’re just gunning her and they get a pretty good speed up,” says Lindsay Fortney.
“I worry for all the pedestrians crossing to the park, and for all the kids and animals that live along here.”
Fortney, who lives on Christina Street between Flamingo Drive and Highbury Park, knew when she moved there two years ago she’d have to be vigilant about keeping her children and pets away from the busy road.
She and her husband were drawn to the area because of family nearby and Canatara Park across the street.
“But right away I noticed it was much worse than I thought because people race down the street,” she said.
“I called a lawyer and realized from speaking to him how much I’d have to do to make a change. I got busy with the boys and put it on the backburner.”
Now that her boys, ages three and five, are learning to ride bicycles, Fortney is taking action.
“I want everyone to know there are little kids along here and that there are also a lot of pedestrians who cross Christina at Flamingo and Highbury because of the trails into Tarzanland.
“It’s death alley if you are an animal. There are dead squirrels, bunnies, possums and cats all the time,” she said.
The stretch of Christina by her house is under Lambton County’s jurisdiction, which set the speed limit at 60 km/hr many years ago. Just north of the Fortneys’ home the speed limit is reduced to 50 km/hr, near Cathcart Boulevard.
“When it’s 60 km people will go 80 or 90,” said Fortney. “If they see someone crossing the road, it’s much harder for them to slow down.”
Then there are the street racers she says she hears almost daily between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., coming out of the park and tearing past her house.
“I’ve called the police a number of times and they are always helpful,” she said. “When one jumped the curve in front of our house and hit a tree, I called 911 and police responded immediately.
“All I could think is thank God no one was walking there or they’d have been killed.”
No charges resulted and the daily racing continues, according to Fortney.
City engineer Mike Berkvens said it will take a vote by county council to change the bylaw that determines the speed limit, he said.
“It’s set at 60 km/hr because, historically, the speed limit is based on the number of entrances onto the road and there is none on the west side where the park is,” said Berkvens. When speed limits are determined, the flat terrain and width of the four-lane road are also considered.
Berkvens said Fortney can ask city staff to assess the situation and, if they believe it’s appropriate, they can make a recommendation to the county about reducing the speed near her home.