Demand Election Candidates' Promise to Implement Solutions to Speeding Dangers in Perth

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In Perth, the speed limit on most streets is 50 km/hr and the rate of survival for pedestrians hit by a car at 50 km/hr is only 15%, but at 30 km/hr survival is 95% (Toronto Board of Health). Some drivers in Perth often travel 60 km/hr or more, where the pedestrian survival rate is a chilling 0%.

From 2016 until June, 2018 there were 347 collisions in Perth, according to town statistics.

Where there is an absence of 4-way stops, speeders tend to use streets as speed corridors, and streets lacking sidewalks on one or both sides present an added danger. On a positive note, Perth recently installed a new stop sign on Victoria Ave. near Perth and District Collegiate Institute, and lights on two pedestrian crossings on Gore St. Bravo!

Again, bravo to Perth for designating a speed limit of 30 km/hr on Smith Dr./Conlon Farm, where children play. But what about the youth playing on bikes, rollerblades, and skateboards (who must be on the road as per Bylaw 3961) where the speed limit is 50 km/hr? If 30 km/hr is a safe speed limit for youth playing near Smith Dr., with what logic is 50 km/hr safe for youth playing on other streets?

Proposed solutions to the speed problems in Perth are clear-cut:

  1. Reduce the speed limit
  2. Insist on its necessary enforcement
  3. Eliminate speed corridors by placing 4-way stops on applicable residential streets
  4. Use poles, speed bumps, etc. to reduce speeding
  5. Employ photo radar to catch speeders
  6. Modify the walk lights at corners such that vehicles don’t have a green light when pedestrians have a walk sign

Tragically, years ago, falling ice killed a child in Perth. Our town is proactive now about putting up barricades to protect pedestrians from falling ice. Let us also be proactive NOW by reducing our speed limits. Let us not wait for a pedestrian to be seriously maimed or killed.

Many communities have adopted speed limits of 40 km/hr (such as Westport and parts of Carleton Place), and 30 km/hr in others; Toronto mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat advocates for a 30 km/hr speed limit on all Toronto residential streets.

We need the political will to fix this problem, as well as applied enforcement to solve this dangerous issue. Therefore, we ask all candidates for municipal office to declare their commitment to solutions to the issue of speeding and pedestrian safety.

Dr. Christian Colby