Slowmentum: Point Edward residents also demanding action on speeders

Slow Down signs, like these in Point Edward, are appearing across the community. – Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson

Point Edward residents – like those in Sarnia – are upset by speeding drivers and demanding action from their police and municipal council.

Point Edward resident Bill Gordon stands under a 10-foot “Slow Down” sign with a radar gun he uses to clock speeders on St. Clair Street. For more on the local push to crack down on lead-footed drivers please see page 4.
– Cathy Dobson

Bill Gordon has even bought his own radar gun to demonstrate speeding is a problem on St. Clair Street, a main thoroughfare of the village.

“I see lots of drivers in excess of 100 kilometres,” he said. “I call it the St. Clair Speedway. I’m just fed up.”

Gordon joined forces with neighbour Shawn MacDonald and distributed about 200 “Slow Down” signs, started a Facebook group, and held a rally in September.

“I went door-to-door and talked to people everywhere in Point Edward and know how frustrated they are with speeders,” MacDonald said.

“But rather than listen to us, all council has done is tell us to remove our signs from the boulevards.”

Some lawn signs have gone missing but many still dot village streets.

Gordon erected a 10-foot pole on his front lawn to display flags and lights in a bid to convince drivers to slow down.

“I love this village and I want it to be safe for everyone,” he said. “We need council to reduce the legal speed limit from 50 kilometres an hour to 40.”

Trimming the speed limit is exactly what Sarnia is considering.

City council recently directed staff to gather public input on a proposed speed limit reduction for all or parts of the city.

Staff is also preparing a report on the introduction of Automated Speed Enforcement, or photo radar. Photo radar allows owners to be charged after cameras snap photos of speeding vehicles.

Point Edward Mayor Bev Hand said village council shares its residents’ concerns.

“After all, we live here too and we know there is a speeding problem.”

But it’s one common to many communities, she said.

“It’s not just us. It feels like everyone came out of lockdown and wants to drive fast.”

Point Edward instructed its residents to remove their ‘Slow Down’ signs from boulevards to comply with a bylaw aimed at reducing visual clutter, Hand said.

The village has already asked the OPP to take action through speed enforcement, more tickets, focused patrols, and by using a speed calibration sign that’s moved from street to street.

Point Edward is also investigating the cost of hiring a traffic consultant, she said.

As for speedsters on St. Clair, that street is earmarked for a rebuild and road “diet” to reduce car lanes and add bicycle lanes.

But that project is a few years away, the mayor added.

“Experts say the reconstruction will slow traffic, just like it has on Michigan (Avenue). We understand there’s a problem and I know it’s frustrating, but there’s no quick fix.”