a peek inside the fishbowl

17 Apr, 2009

Making the street a little safer

Posted by andrea tomkins in: sanity saving parent tips

Spring does something crazy to Ottawa folks. Everyone is suddenly overwrought with joy, exponentially so because our winters can be such a slog. Homeowners happily wield rakes and everything gets a good scrubbing, garden centres sprout overnight, restaurant patios come out of nowhere, and everywhere you turn there are bright pasty-legged people wearing t-shirts and shorts. The energy, the happiness, the relief… it’s almost palpable.

They’re calling for lovely weather for the next couple of days and I plan on spending as much time as I can outdoors.

The girls are a little older now but I still worry about fast-moving cars zipping down our residential street.

It seems that almost everyone does about 10km/h over the speed limit, which is 40km/h on residential streets, bringing their speed up to 50km/h… way too fast when there are little people involved. (Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing the residential speed limit cut down to 30km/h near parks and schools.)

You know what has worked really well for us? A couple of years ago we came to possess two large neon orange pylons. When the girls are outside we put them on the road, about a metre out from our driveway. Cars see them and slow right down. Sad thing is they’re more likely to slow down when they see the pylons, not when they see kids. 

In my pre-child days I used to pooh-pooh those plastic neon kid-shaped things some parents plunked down near where their kids were playing, but now I have to say I totally get it.


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5 Responses to "Making the street a little safer"

1 | Chantal

April 17th, 2009 at 9:11 am

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We could use that “plastic neon kid-shaped thing” on our road (and you know which one it is). We live close to the corner and people just fly around it like bats outa hell then they give us dirty looks when we are (already) half way across the street and the have to slow down.

We had a city of Ottawa traffic expert at our last school council meeting and he had some interesting information to tell us. I always thought that residential street speed limits were 40. But in truth, if the speed limit isn’t posted it defaults to 50. And many residential streets (including mine) don’t have the limit posted. He also said that for a 40km speed limit to be enforceable the city must post the limit every 300meters. Which would cost a fortune in speed signs for the city. So they don’t do it. The usually have 1 sign and hope people comply…

2 | jennP

April 17th, 2009 at 10:35 am

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wow, what a GREAT idea! i will pick up some of these today the the dollarstore…

we have a house on our street where young adults still live at home. My daughters friend was crossing the street on his bike, but being a new biker, he is pretty slow. The girl that lives in that particular house was coming fast, and we were at the crosswalk where pedestrians apparently used to have the right of way. I moved closer and closer to the middle of the road to slow her down. She simply drove completely to the right, almost on the persons lawn, not even acknowledging my presence. That same house… as we walked by, the boy was smoking pot in his car in the driveway… and then, he drove off!! i freaked out! this kid is driving on MY street after using drugs! This is the reason why i am unable to let my daughter go up and down the street on her own at age 7.

3 | lacoop

April 17th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

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If cars had to be assessed for risk like any other product, they would never be registered. As a society, we accept far to much risk for such an expensive item. The speed limit should be 30 km/hr, except on main city roads which should only be 50 km/hr. Highways would be the only exception. What the heck is the hurry! Of course, we have so many ridiculous movies about driving fast and how cool it is. Explain that to the guy who died yesterday morning here in Ottawa. Speed is directly proportional to the extent of the injury. End of rant (sorry…cars are on the top of my list of beefs with our world). We have one of those neon plastic green turtles with the red flag. We stick it right on the street. 99% of the people are OK with that…they just need a reminder to slow down.

4 | lacoop

April 19th, 2009 at 5:47 pm

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I had to add one more post on this, as I just saw the outcome of a vehicle vs kid collision this afternoon…right down the street at Keenan and Courtenay. I am not sure of all the details yet (but there were enough ambulances, police cars and fire trucks to scare my daughter), but they did take the little kid away in an ambulance. Speed makes a difference…check out this study by the World Health Organization http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/road_traffic/world_report/speed_en.pdf

5 | Anne

April 20th, 2009 at 7:42 am

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On Friday my husband was waiting for the #15 bus at Dovercourt and Mansfield. While he waited by this 4 way stop, he saw 39 cars roll through the intersection. Only 1 car did a proper complete stop. And he figures that was only because there were some people crossing the intersection. We need to reclaim our neighbourhoods and communities from the people who use it as a pass through and who are not considerate of the pace of residential streets and how we live – walking the dogs, children playing, out for a stroll, etc.

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