NDIP residents ask council to address speeding problem
PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO
Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot residents Lewis Sewina (left) and Yan Vanbrugghe have circulated a petition to residents living along a stretch of Boulevard Perrot between Point-du-Domaine and 101st Avenue to ask elected officials to address the issue of motorists exceeding the posted 50 km/h speed limit.
It took a May 28 accident in which a toddler was hit by a car on Boulevard Perrot to mobilize a number of Notre-Dame-de-l'Île-Perrot (NDIP) parents into petitioning elected officials to address speeding vehicles along a three-kilometre stretch between Point-du-Domaine and 101st Avenue.
“In 2009, I approached council about the traffic problems on Boulevard Perrot,” said Yan Vanbrugghe, a resident since 2007 and father of two children. “We had young kids at the time in strollers and found it too dangerous to walk on the road.” Vanbrugghe recounted how the installation of a camera and mobile radar display indicated there was indeed a problem and the traffic committee asked the Sûreté du Québec for police presence as a deterrent.
“They sent one police car for one morning between 10 and 10:45 a.m. when there wasn't a car on the road,” he said. “We never heard anything more since then.”
Though Vanbrugghe said the May 28 accident fortunately resulted in nothing more than minor injuries, it's a wake-up call that the issue needs to be addressed before consequences are more serious.
Vanbrugghe was accompanied at the July 12 NDIP council meeting by nine other families who had their young children in tow, all residents along the contested stretch of road.
While NDIP has made recent strides in installing bicycle lanes along the boulevard between Point-du-Domaine and Boulevard St-Joseph as well as the recent road expansion to accommodate cyclists on southern and eastern portions of the municipality, the long, straight stretch of road that has recently seen an influx of young families move in is more attractive to speeders and, by extension, more dangerous to cyclists and pedestrians.
“I've installed security fencing all around my property,” said Vanbrugghe, “but now my kids are getting older and want to go ride their bicycles. If people obey the (50 km/hr) speed limit it's not a problem but we regularly see cars go by at an estimated 80 to 100 kilometres an hour. It's dangerous.”
Vanbrugghe deposited a petition bearing 98 signatures of residents of the 110 households visited who want to see the speed issue addressed with specific measures.
Resident and father of three young children, Louis Sewina presented council with a number of studies obtained from the website of the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) outlining the efficacy of speed bumps to curtail speeding.
“I've done a tour of Île Perrot,” he said, “and what I've found is other municipalities have been proactive in addressing road safety.” Sewina highlighted Pincourt’s recent bike path installation bordered by grooved pavement to audibly warn drivers if they drift into the bike lane as well as other speed prevention measures taken around NDIP’s new Parc des Éperviers.
Though in previous years, roadside signs displaying pictograms of cyclists alongside cars with the words 'Partagez la route' were installed on either end of the contested stretch of road, they are not present this year.
As reported in Your Local Journal July 5, 2012, Canada Post halted delivery to rural mailboxes along the same road in June of that year citing safety concerns raised by the mail carrier. According to Canada Post spokesperson Geneviève Latour, the delivery suspension was said to be based on a decision by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC).
Both Sewina and Vanbrugghe want council to consider installing speed bumps on the 3-kilometre stretch. While there was a short-lived attempt at addressing the speeding issue roughly 20 years ago with the installation of stop signs at 81st and 87th Avenues, they were soon removed as very few motorists respected them.
Mayor Danie Deschênes said council’s primary objection to speed bumps is that it would impede the response time of firetrucks.
Quoting from an MTQ document, Sewina said, “A speed bump measuring 80 millimetres (in height) by 3.5 to 4 metres length will only slow down a fire truck by 10 seconds.” Sewina also described a successful model of speed bump used in Europe that uses three bumps side by side, allowing fire trucks emergency passage through the spaces between.
“Certainly, we’re aware of the issue,” Deschênes said. “There has been much initiative taken in the last few years to address speeding and make the streets safer for our children.” She said council will discuss the speed bump ideas raised by the residents.
“In the short term, until we find a permanent solution, we can potentially install signs on the centre lane reminding motorists about the speed limit,” said Deschênes. “Depending on what we have in stock, we’ll try to get those installed this week.”