Two electronic speed reader boards that are popping up on city roadsides recently are here to stay.
The boards, which are installed with a radar gun and display a vehicle’s speed as it approaches, were purchased by the city to help control traffic on the Island Highway while under construction.
Now that the project is complete, the boards will be placed in different spots around the city to remind drivers to keep to the posted speed limit.
“We will be moving them around the community when they are not being used for construction projects, to help bring awareness to vehicle speeds,” Drew Hadfield, the city’s manager of transportation, said. “By providing a readout of vehicle speeds as they approach and pass the signs, the driver and any observer from the side of the road know how fast the vehicles are actually travelling.”
Over the past couple of weeks, the boards have been on the hill on South Dogwood Street, on Murphy Street and, most recently, on South Alder by the Sportsplex and on the Alder Street hill across from St. Patrick’s church.
Drivers going faster than the speed limit receive a message telling them to slow down.
Hadfield said not only is the intent of the boards to remind motorists to obey the speed limit but also to avoid any misconceptions.
“Speeding along roadways is a common concern raised (by the public) with the city. In a number of situations a pedestrian’s perception of a vehicle’s speed is misunderstood,” Hadfield said. “Generally, if a person is standing still, watching a vehicle pass, they have a good idea, up to around 30 kilometres per hour, how fast that vehicle appears to be going.”
But vehicles travelling at speeds over 30 km/h – which is typical on most city streets – are generally perceived by pedestrians to be going faster than they really are, he said.
Although the boards don’t actually track speeds, the city does use radar traffic counters in certain situations that can collect volume and speed data. Hadfield said the city is planning to use the traffic counters together with the boards in the coming months in a couple of locations where speeding tends to be a problem.
The city’s traffic counters provide the average speeds of vehicles on particular streets as well as the 85th percentile – speeds at which 85 per cent of all passing vehicles are driving.
“The city makes this data available to the RCMP,” Hadfield said. “It can be used to develop speed trends in certain areas. This trending can be used to assist the RCMP with enforcement issues in certain locations at specific times of the day.”