City orders review following complaints of excessive speeding in residential area

Prince Albert City Hall -- Herald File Photo

A Prince Albert resident who is fed up with the excessive speeding on Barton Drive has inspired a review of the City’s traffic calming policy. 

Jody Hammersmith submitted a letter and formal petition to City Council in May of 2022 on behalf of himself and his neighbours, asking for permanent speed reducing measures to be taken on his street, like a speed bump placed in front of his home, “before an innocent person is hurt or worse, killed.”

Out of 19 houses within 75 metres of the proposed speed bump, 16 homeowners signed the petition. 

Hammersmith said there have been nine speeding incidents reaching approximately 100 km/h or more in front of his house in the month of April, followed by eleven incidents in May and nine more in June. 

Barton Drive is a residential street with a 40 kilometre maximum speed limit. Previously, Barton Drive did not qualify for a speed calming device.

“The higher the speed, the lower the chance. If you’re hit at 40 km/h, it’s a coin flip as to whether you’re going to see your loved ones again. Over 40 km/h, your chances drop significantly,” said Hammersmith during his presentation at Monday’s Executive Committee meeting. 

“Is it fair to give so much power over an innocent person’s chances to a dangerous driver who wanted to get somewhere a few seconds earlier?” 

In October of 2020, Hammersmith captured a video of a Your Speed sign clocking a vehicle driving 118 km/h on Barton Drive. Hammersmith said this is the fastest recorded speed so far.

“The overall speed of vehicles is increasing, from motorcycles, cars, trucks, semis, school buses and even City of PA vehicles… Just steps from where people take family walks, people in their yards, people riding bikes, public parks, the Rotary Trail access, where kids are walking to and from school.”

He said the 29 speeding incidents from April to June showed a 480% increase in excessive speeding on Barton Drive over the entire year of 2021. 

“Unless something is done to help prevent it, sadly an innocent person will be killed someday on Barton. Will that one person be enough for the City to make a change?” 

Councillor Zurakowski said sometimes speed bumps are not the answer, but further data needs to be collected to see the effectiveness.

“I want to make sure we manage expectations,” he said. “It may not reduce speeding.”

Hammersmith said it’s about being preventive and reducing the odds.

He said there have been several instances of homes and vehicles being damaged due to vehicles speeding on Barton Drive.

Ward 6 Councillor Blake Edwards represents the area where Barton Drive is situated. He said even if speed bumps aren’t feasible, something needs to be done.

“They want some speed calming measures, whatever that might be. There has to be some alternatives,” he said. “They want safety.”

After a discussion between members of Council, the recommendation was amended to include a report by the Department of Public Works on traffic calming on Barton Drive to see what options are available. 

Mayor Greg Dionne added that he would like to see a review and update from Administration on the City’s traffic calming bylaw to see if their threshold is too high. 

Right now, the requirements for a traffic calming device are adequate traffic volume, excessive speeding and 75% of neighbours in support.

He said the City’s traffic calming policy caused the issue on Barton Drive and it needs to be looked at as well.

The recommendation was carried eight to one.

Councillor Zurakowski said he believes adding the review of the entire traffic calming policy is valuable because now residents from other areas of the City will also speak up on their speeding issues.