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Residents want city to curb 'crazy' speeding problem on their street

Signs posted by residents on Nottawasaga Street drew complaint, must be removed from city property; 'How can you get upset with somebody when they’re just trying to protect their kids?' sign maker wonders
2020-06-10 slow down signs
This is one of many signs residents have placed along Nottawasaga Street in response to speeding drivers. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters

Concerned residents along an Orillia street are calling on the city to take action to address speeding in the area.

Zachary Lucky is among the group of residents on Nottawasaga Street who have been discussing the problem since last fall.

“It’s been a big issue on this street. People fly along Nottawasaga at crazy speeds,” he said.

Lucky, a father of two young children, said he wants the city to address the problem “before something happens.”

“(Nottawasaga Street) has become populated with younger families and elderly people as well,” he said. “I want to be on my driveway or sidewalk with my kids and not feel worried.”

Lucky is one of many residents in the area who have yellow signs out front that read, “Slow down. Kids at play.” He saw one of the signs in another area of town and contacted Adam Ross, a local real-estate broker who had them made, and asked for some for him and his neighbours.

The signs have raised an issue with the city, however. Ross was contacted by the bylaw department, which had received a complaint about 15 signs being displayed on city-owned property — the strip of grass between the road and the sidewalk.

“As a result of the complaint, a municipal bylaw enforcement officer investigated and requested that the signs be removed from city property,” said Shawn Crawford, the city’s legislative services manager. “With limited exceptions such as small signs advertising charitable events, signs are not permitted to be displayed on city property as per the city’s sign bylaw.”

One of the initial concerns was that Ross’s company name and contact information was on the signs, so it was deemed advertising. Ross went out and cut that part off the bottom of the signs, but it didn’t solve the problem.

Residents want to place the signs on the city-owned strip of land because it’s more visible. For some, if they place them on their lawns, drivers won’t see them at all.

“In today’s world, with kids not being able to go to parks or playgrounds, out front is where they often play,” Ross said. “In this situation, there should be some leniency.”

Crawford noted council could amend the bylaw to allow for these signs on city property, but they are not permitted at the moment.

“How can you get upset with somebody when they’re just trying to protect their kids?” Ross asked, referring to whoever lodged the complaint. “The more visible it is, the more effective it is.”

Lucky agreed.

“You’re not going to see it on my lawn if I put it on my lawn, and then it serves no purpose,” he said.

While the signs are a start, they’re not enough, he added.

“I would love to see speed bumps, even if they’re seasonal. Maybe it’s stop signs at every corner,” he said. “I don’t really know what the answer is, but something needs to happen.”

Lucky met briefly on Wednesday with Coun. Ralph Cipolla, who represents that area.

Cipolla, who lived on Nottawasaga Street for more than 25 years, said he sympathizes with the residents.

“My concern is for the children that are on the sidewalks,” he said. “If a person is doing 70 km/h or even 60 km/h, it’s hard to stop in time.”

He would like to see the speed limit set at 40 km/h. In the meantime, though, he thinks electronic signage that displays how fast someone is driving could help.

“We need to try that first before we go to (other measures),” he said.

Cipolla said he would be contacting Mayor Steve Clarke, who chairs the Orillia Police Services Board, to see about an increased police presence in the area.

“Hopefully, police will patrol that area more often,” he said.

The residents could petition the city, too.

The city has a traffic-calming policy “to provide direction and transparency for traffic-calming requests,” Crawford noted. That policy can be found here.

Speeding complaints can also be reported to the OPP by calling 1-888-310-1122 or using the online reporting tool here.


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Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the desk editor for Village Media's central Ontario news desk in Simcoe County and Newmarket.
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