Saanich residents are increasingly taking traffic safety into their own hands — and the municipality is not exactly averse to this agenda, provided it does not run afoul of municipal regulations.
An informal survey around the community shows that a number of residents have put up hand-crafted signs designed to encourage drivers to slow down.
“Saanich supports neighbourhood based initiatives that promotes the community, raises the awareness of vulnerable road users and encourages drivers to reduce speeds,” said Harley Machielse, Saanich’s director of engineering. “It’s important for residents to contact the municipality prior to undertaking any such initiative to ensure the activities are safe and in accordance to municipal regulations. Posting signs that could distract drivers or replicate traffic control devices (such as speed limits) is not permitted unless being placed on private strata roads.”
While these efforts are not necessarily new, they appear during a period of growing concern about road safety. Residents of Ash Road, for example, have launched a number of personal initiatives to ensure public road safety following a serious collision that left an 11-year-old Saanich girl in an “unresponsive” state, but not always with the blessing of Saanich police as one resident found out this summer.
When Gerry Tearoe was tracking traffic along Ash Road, while wearing a yellow safety vest and a clipboard, two police officers arrived to talk with Tearoe, after they received complaints about Tearoe distracting drivers.
“I’m just responding to a citizen, who has complained,” said Sgt. Alan Kurzinski of Saanich Police. “They have got concerns. So I’m just out here to identify you and make sure you are OK and you are safe and you are not doing anything wrong out here. And from the looks of it, I don’t think so.”