Sunday, July 08, 2007

Star on Cootes

[Craig and the Dundas Star continue to give great follow-up coverage on transportation issues!]

Second speedwatch alerts drivers of pending change

Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News

(Jul 6, 2007)

Six drivers were travelling at least 20 km-h over the posted speed limit during a the most recent Speedwatch on Cootes Drive in Dundas.

The public awareness program is operated by auxiliary police. While no traffic tickets are handed out, a large radar board displays drivers' speeds in comparison to the posted limit.

Speeds are also recorded, then passed along to divisional safety police officers, and City of Hamilton traffic staff. The brief morning Speedwatch on Cootes Drive just before Thorpe Street, Monday, June 25, observed a total of 185 vehicles.

According to statistics provided by Sergeant Glenn Jarvie, 108 of those drivers were actually travelling below the 50 km-h posted speed limit.

Sixty-three drivers were recorded at the posted speed limit or less than 10 km-h over. And, in addition to the six drivers travelling 20 to 29 km-h over the limit, eight drivers were speeding by 10 to 19 km-h.

"This program assists the police service to identify resource allocation," Sgt. Jarvie said.

"Complaint areas can be given to the speedwatch auxiliaries, attended to, and if deemed to be a problem area then our divisional safety officers are directed to this area to initiate an enforcement and education awareness plan."

Because the auxiliary officers and speed sign are highly visible, drivers tend to lower their speed at a Speedwatch site.

The four kilometres of Cootes Drive - from York Road in Dundas to Main Street West in Hamilton - has been the focus on ongoing complaints for more than two years.

The roadway has received heavier scrutiny since Feb. 2006, when a 19-year-old McMaster University student was struck and killed crossing Cootes Drive.

Another Speedwatch was held near the pedestrian-controlled crossing at the opposite end of Cootes Drive on Nov. 6. Both Speedwatch days have only observed eastbound traffic on Cootes.

"When it comes to these identified locations, the Speedwatch people revisit these sites to determine if further enforcement is required," Mr. Jarvie said.

A Division one officer recently began an increased level of speed enforcement at the Main West end of Cootes Drive, while the other end of Cootes - near Thorpe Street - has long been a favourite of Dundas police for speed enforcement.

A reduction in speed limits is expected in less than two months.

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