Dangerous and disrespectful: speeding on Thompson Ave. threatens area residents

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
November 17th, 2012

Gerald Savard knows there’s a big problem with speeding on Thompson Avenue—he lives on the street below the hill at the intersection with Esling Drive—but he’s dismayed that “nobody seems to want to do anything about it.”

“The traffic is unbelievable,” he said. “People go 70, 80 kilometres per hour, it’s just crazy. People with kids are actually leaving this place,” he said.

Savard mentioned at least two sets of neighbours he knows who have moved off Thompson in recent years specifically because they were concerned for the children’s safety on the street.

“I’ve almost been hit and killed just stepping out of my garage,” he continued. “People don’t want to slow down for some reason. They don’t respect the neighbourhood. We need to put our heads together and find a solution.”

To prove there’s a problem, he said a radar could be set up to count cars and record their speed. Alternatively, he said, “come down here and set up a lawn chair, we’ll have a beer and watch the traffic. It’s amazing.”

Savard has been on this campaign for at least three years. For a couple summers a speed bump was installed near his house, but this past year no bump went in, possibly due to driver complaints.

“It wasn’t a bad bump, you could go right over it no problem at 40 kilometres per hour,” Savard said, “but some people were pissed off the bump was there. They’d slow right down and lay on their horn.”

Savard maintains that it’s a simple lack of respect: “If I was speeding in other people’s neighbourhoods, they’d be upset,” he said. “You’ve got to respect your neighbours, but they don’t unless there’s something there to slow them down.

“There are lots of answers,” he said, “but we don’t want to do anything, that’s the problem. Nobody seems to want to fix it. They’re going to wait until somebody’s kid gets killed or an adult gets run over. I work all over the world and travel a lot, and villages in Europe have the same problems, but they’ve found answers.”

Among the possible solutions are speed dips, like at Selkirk College in Castlegar, which don’t need to be removed in the winter as ploughs can go right over them. Rumble strips are a possibility, though Savard warned that “they make so much noise, you’d have to be careful where you put one.”

Savard also suggested traffic circles at intersections, or even stop signs, though he said he’d prefer it didn’t come to that. Police could help too: “One you hit the highway, the police patrol it with a vengeance, but they rarely come onto Thompson,” he said.

“I’d like to set up a committee to study this thing,” he said, “It’s a big issue. It’s going to take the people on the street and the people from the office and public works department to study it and really see what it is.”

This isn’t the only traffic problem for Thompson residents. “We have these logging trucks coming through,” he said. “Just three weeks ago one came by at 4:30 in the morning with its engine brakes going. My friend was downstairs using the bedroom and jumped out of bed he was so surprised at the noise. He couldn’t believe it.”

“They say they’re in by 6 and hauling logs by 7 [in the morning], but they’re doing it far before,” Savard said. “They say there’s no other way to get the logs out, but there are other roads, they just need to upgrade them.”

Savard took his complaint to the public input period at council’s regular meeting on Monday evening, and several on council acknowledged the complaint and the existence of a speeding problem.


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