On July 8th of last year (2015), three Mt. Hope residents came out to a Neighbourhood Association meeting and voiced their concerns about the speed of vehicles driving along Waterloo St. The increase in traffic flow because of the closure of King (and what seems like any other street that gets you anywhere) was spurring a noticeable increase in the through traffic.
As a response to this concern the MHBPNA, contacted the Waterloo Regional Police Services, and worked with our Community Resource Officer to bring attention to this issue.
On August 20th, we were assured that Waterloo St would be added to the STEP program (Selective Traffic Enforcement Program). This program helps designate time for enforcement in our hood. This is the right path to slowing traffic by increasing the police presence and ticketing careless drivers.
This summer (2016) we heard of some enforcement happening in the Waterloo St area, and inquired to see if this was part of STEP. It actually was not. We learned that our STEP was run in the last quarter of 2015, October 1st to December 31st. Most of the bad drivers had already found better routes around the construction. Nonetheless, 1 hour total was spent specifically performing, STEP, and yielded no charges.
In February of 2016, after another meeting with our Community Resource Officer, an internal request for more enforcement along Waterloo St was made by our CRO.
As for Highway Traffic Act charges on Waterloo St that were a result of regular patrols, vehicle stop, etc: 12 charges have been laid. These range from driving under suspension, equipment infractions and administrative charges.
Recently we spoke again with our Community Resource Officer about traffic. It happened to be outdoors, and we could hear cars on other roads squealing tires, and revving engines. He wasn’t surprised and stated that it happens in every neighbourhood, including his own. The only way to truly enforce speed in neighbourhoods is to use photo radar. The reality is there are 15 officers on duty at any given time, and between mental health issues, car accidents, etc, our officers are taxed.
It’s not that officers don’t care about our neighbourhood, or the bad drivers, it’s that there are many other issues happening all shift long. As demonstrated above, 1 hour in 4 months won’t solve the problems we all see exist regarding traffic in our hood.
This story is an example of how advocacy works. There are no simple answers to issues like traffic calming but it helps to understand the problem and the resources that are available. Some residents along Waterloo St. have erected hand-made signs asking drivers to slow down and the Region has posted many black and orange “Drive Slow” signs in Mt. Hope so these might help as well.
The MHBPNA has spent several hours meeting with police and other officials over this one issue and we will continue to monitor traffic across our ‘hood (getting the 50K signs installed on Weber St is another example of our work with politicians and staff).
We welcome residents to continue attending our meetings and talk to us about their concerns.
Finally, please be a good driver! Call out bad drivers! Make it a habit to travel in your hood under 40km/h. Bet you won’t even notice how much longer it will take you to get home.