Council hopes to put the brakes on speeding motorists

Campaign born in Chilliwack to come to Agassiz for neighbourhood-targeted speed reduction

Hey neighbour, slow down.

District of Kent Council and staff are hoping that message will work to slow drivers down on residential streets.

They plan to buy lawn signs which feature the slogan, ‘Hey neighbour, slow down’, to help encourage drivers to take their foot off the gas as they pass through residential areas.

The lawn sign program hails from Chilliwack and has been a success there. Harrison councillor Samantha Piper is the public safety specialist for the city of Chilliwack. She says residents provide feedback though a questionnaire after the program is run in their neighbourhood and they tend to have a positive response to the campaign. There are neighbourhoods that sign up multiple times as well, citing success when the signs were up with reduced speeding motorists.

Kent councillors were sold on the program, all voting in favour of the staff recommendation.

“This would be a good start and we’ll see – we’ll soon tell how effective it is by the reaction from residents,” says Councillor Sylvia Pranger.

Mayor John Van Laerhoven explains that it will be up to residents to put up the lawn signs. The idea of the program is to create a visual impact by only leaving the signs up for a short period of time, recommended for under two weeks.

“If things remain, they become stale and unnoticed,” says Van Laerhoven.

The program is intended for local and collector roads, not for main or arterial roads. It is designed to give residents a proactive tool to identify and prevent speeding motorists in their neighbourhood.

Residents can contact the District if interested in the campaign for their neighbourhood. An appointed captain will be provided with signs from the District to install along the targeted street on every second house, for a period of one to two weeks.

The ‘Hey Neighbour, Please Slow Down’ program was created by the City of Chilliwack’s road safety program in 2006 and has run every year since. A survey from March of this year shows that individuals who participated in the project noticed vehicles slowing down in response to the signage. Kamloops has also had success with the program.

The only cost of the program is signage, with an estimated 21 signs costing $288.75.

Staff researched speed reduction options following discussion at a Council meeting in February. That discussion came forth after a letter was sent to the District by Agassiz resident Ingrid Haines, who was concerned about speeding on her road. She says while it sounds like this lawn sign campaign is better than nothing, she wishes there would be more done such as increased stop signs and enforcement.

“It might tweak their brains to slow down, but people who don’t live up here, they’re just going to whip up the road anyway,” says Haines.

In the staff report, it was noted that alternative solutions to reduce speeding motorists, such as traffic calming devices and increased RCMP patrols, are expensive.

“Speed bumps in particular pose numerous problems such as retarding emergency vehicles, diverting traffic into other neighbourhoods, interfering with snow removal, and irritating local residents who must drive over them daily,” writes TJ Gooliaff, engineering assistant, in the report.