By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Nobleford will be cracking down on speeders after a report revealed speeds over 100 km/hour in a school zone.
In a Speed Sign Report first presented to Nobleford town council during their regular May 21 meeting, the report shared statistics on just how fast some drivers were going in the 30 km/hour zone along Highway Avenue.
The report, which contained gathered from Dec. 6, 2017, to April 4, 2019, from the town’s traffic radar speed sign in spots located on either side of Highway Avenue, on Cawdron Street or by the Christian Reformed Church.
While the speed limit is generally 50 km/hour along Highway Avenue, from Ruby Street to Kipp Street, the speed is reduced to 30 km/hour at all times, due to the proximity of facilities such as Noble Central School, playgrounds, soccer fields and the community centre.
“We have speeds, weekly, of up to 100 km/hour, of people driving through there, and it’s not just 2 o’clock in the morning; this can be 8 o’clock in the morning or 3 o’clock in the afternoon,” said town CAO Kirk Hoffman.
“We were very surprised to see weekly speeds in access of 80 km/hour, quite surprised. You know previously, we’ve had people say ‘hey, some guy sped down there’ or we had the RCMP issue a ticket, we’re aware what those penalties were. But we were surprised to see how regular the speeds are in that dangerous, excessive speed. Even the RCMP was quite surprised.”
The town had purchased the speed sign a couple of years ago, and it recorded the speeds of drivers as they go by. The town has a software package that collected and organized the data, which was than presented to council.
In a snapshot of a week, from Dec. 2-9, 2018, it was reported that 8,707 passed the sign located by Cawdron Street, with 4,437 vehicle violating the speed limit and 665 vehicles remaining within a tolerate range of speed.
When looking at the report, the ‘Number of vehicles inside tolerated range’ was taken from the ‘Number of vehicles respecting the limit’ data.
Another portion of the report on speed data from March 25-30, 2019, reported a speed range from 0 km an hour — when no cars drove by — to as high as 120 km/hour.
The RCMP had been at Nobleford council’s June 4 council meeting to discuss the report, and Hoffman said they will be increasing their presence in town.
The town is also considering other alternatives to reduces speeders, such as photo radar — although council is hesitant to do so, as it is a “money grab” and they want to focus on slowing people down and not generating revenue.
However, if the things don’t improve, council would have to look at more “stringent” measures.
The town will also be purchasing another speed sign and placing that in different locations around town, and implementing a live feed webcam on Highway Avenue in conjunction to the signs.
“What we’re trying to do is come up with some way to encourage people to abide by the law, slow down and keep our community safe,” said Hoffman.
“We’re hoping that that’s kind of a soft way for people to take responsibility for their own actions and slow down, rather then slapping $300, $500 fines on them, because that’s what it costs you when you’re driving 20 km over the sped limit in a school zone,” said Hoffman.
Cpl. Paul Bedard of the Picture Butte RCMP said the RCMP will be doing targeted patrols of the area and increasing their visibility, to ensure that people are paying attention to their driving patterns, especially around areas were children frequent, like schools or parks.
“There is a need for drivers to be more vigilant in watching their speed and driving behaviours because kids can be unpredictable, especially before class and after class, when you have large amount of kids gathering at the same time, there is a need for people to be more cognoscente of their driving patterns, to ensure the safety of the children,” said Bedard. “Be aware of you surroundings when driving, and be sure to continue to slow down, and always keep your eyes out for children, because they have a tendency to dart out in traffic. Just drive with safety in mind, and there should be no issues in town.”