It's been 15 years since the province came up with a possible solution to calm traffic in residential neighbourhoods. It allows municipalities to create Community Safety Zones — but very few northern Ontario cities have them.

Sault Ste. Marie resident Terry Lemieux has been petitioning the city for a community safety zone on his street that is used by 25,000 cars each day. The zone moniker means hefty fines can be levied against speeding drivers.

But Sault council has opted to put up speed limit signs on McNabb Street instead, saying the zones don't work.

That solution doesn’t work for Lemieux though, who said — if his family has to — will "sell and move to a quieter neighbourhood."

Coun. Susan Myers said the doubled fines won't change the fact that McNabb is a busy road.

"I would never live on a street like this, to start with, for myself," she said.

High costs

In Sudbury, Southview Drive has a similar problem. It’s a residential street that's become a thoroughfare.


Sudbury resident Dan Barrette says physical changes like narrower lanes or other traffic calming techniques are better than higher speeding fines safety zone signs on the side of the road. (Erik White/CBC)

But resident Dan Barrette said he would rather see physical changes — like narrower lanes — instead of higher speeding fines.

"It [also] needs to come with enforcement and follow-up," he said. "If not, it just becomes another sign on the side of the road."

One of the only community safety zones in northeastern Ontario is in Espanola, where it covers Highway 6, from one end of town to the other.

Police Chief Bob Towns said Espanola's reputation for hefty speeding tickets has even made it into local tourism brochures, which say "welcome to Manitoulin Island, but don't speed through Espanola."

But police in other cities say they just don't have the officers for extra patrols — and prefer to try to educate drivers everywhere to just slow down.

That approach is favoured by Sudbury Police Chief Frank Elsner. He noted Sudbury police will do a speeding blitz if they receive complaints about a certain neighbourhood or street.

"The bulk of those people [who speed] are people who live in those neighbourhoods," he said.

"Because people primarly cut through other people's neighbourhoods to get somewhere. And then you get the complaints. ‘That's not who I meant! It was the other guy!'"

Sudbury city council has turned down several requests for community safety zones, because of the high cost of extra police patrols and new signage.