PEI

Stop speeding, plead residents of Charlottetown neighbourhood

Residents of a downtown Charlottetown neighborhood are calling on city police and their city councillor to do something about drivers who speed and blow through stop signs.

Charlottetown city councillor Mitchell Tweel says more traffic enforcement is the key

Robert Pendergast and daughter Beatrice, 5, have to cross this intersection to get to the neighbourhood park. (Tim Hamming/CBC)

Residents of a downtown Charlottetown neighborhood are calling on city police and their city councillor to take action against drivers who speed and disregard stop signs.

"There's been an ongoing issue with speeding on our street, Orlebar Street, where people will often run the stop sign," said Ellen Mullally. 

"There's a lot of young children and elderly people on our street … I'm just concerned somebody's going to be hurt."

Robert Pendergast and partner Ellen Mullally walk up Orlebar street to Orlebar Park with daughter Beatrice, 5, and often see drivers going through stop signs along the route. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

Mullally is encouraging residents to take down licence plate numbers and call city police when they see traffic violations in the neighborhood. 

"Now when I witness anybody speeding, I'm just going to report it so at least then we'll have some data to work from," she said.

The North of Euston neighbourhood includes Orlebar, Upper Hillsborough and Upper Prince Streets and Walthen Drive. 

There are two elementary schools and two daycares in the North of Euston neighbourhood, including Prince Street School. (Tim Hamming/CBC)

Mullally also wants the city to look for other measures to slow down speeders. 

"I'm okay with a speed bump, I know some neighbours are not as keen, I'm open to any ideas that would calm traffic," she said.

"Interestingly they're paving our street right now and I was noticing that without the potholes, people are going even faster."​

'Pedal to the floor'

​Ryan Mann, who has lived in the neighborhood for almost nine years, said many drivers seem to use the neighbourhood as a way to avoid traffic in downtown Charlottetown. 

"They'll stop at the stop sign or kind of stop at the stop signs and then pedal to the floor."

He'd like to see some of the streets made one way, arranged so that the route is no longer a short cut through downtown.

"The only thing is to make this inconvenient to cut through," Mann said.

Speeders are also an issue on other streets in the North of Euston neighbourhood, including here on Upper Prince Street. (Tim Hamming/CBC)

Bring back traffic division

Mitchell Tweel, city councillor for the ward, has been looking for answers.

"We need to do a comprehensive observation in terms of traffic patterns, in terms of speeding traffic," he said.

 "This city was not built for traffic of this magnitude." 

City councillor Mitchell Tweel says he'd like to see a comprehensive review of the city's traffic flow as part of a solution to the problems in this neighbourhood. (Tim Hamming/CBC)

The city has $50,000 in this year's budget for speed bumps, but Tweel said the solution lies in better enforcement. He'd like to see the city re-introduce the traffic division, which was eliminated in 2009 after a review.

Now all officers are expected to do traffic enforcement.

"The number one priority in my mind would be enforcement," Tweel said. 

"That's what people are looking for in these respective neighbourhoods."​

Mullally says there are many young families in the neighbourhood that are concerned about the speeding. (Tim Hamming/CBC)

Speed monitoring

Charlottetown police are aware of the issue.

"We certainly have dedicated resources to mitigate those concerns,"  said Deputy Chief Brad MacConnell. "We've increased patrols in the area."

MacConnell said police have monitored traffic speeds in the area and found a 98 per cent compliance rate with the existing speed limits.

Charlottetown police Deputy Chief Brad MacConnell said police have monitored traffic in the area and found a 98 per cent compliance rate with the existing speed limits. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

But he acknowledged that residents still have concerns.

"Due to the fact that there's parking on one side of the streets and when the streets are narrow, it certainly feels that the cars are going faster or speeding in the area," said MacConnell.

"The perception of the residents is equally important to us and that's why you'll see extra patrols in those areas."

However, MacConnell said he doesn't support the idea of one way streets.

"We feel it actually would increase speeds because there is no deterrent from oncoming traffic to slow down," he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Russell has been a reporter with CBC since 1987, in Whitehorse, Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown. When not on the job, she spends her time on the water or in the gym rowing, or walking her dog. Nancy.Russell@cbc.ca

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