In response to an increase in speeding complaints, the City is reintroducing its “Hey Neighbour” program, enlisting support from neighbourhood associations to remind drivers to slow down.
Hey Neighbour uses the power of peer pressure with a subtle message that appeals to drivers’ sense of community.
The program works by clustering lawn signs in the boulevard in front of up to six homes on each side of the street, said traffic technician Owen Gothard. It’s based on public complaints of speeding passed on to the City.
“We’re kind of putting in the hands of the neighbourhood associations to keep track of speed complaints that do come in,” he said.
When the complaints come in sufficient numbers — more than one or two about a specific stretch of road — the associations respond by selecting a street that would benefit from the program and notifying the City.
There are 14 neighbourhood associations within Kamloops, though not all are active. One member of each group has to be designated to take the lead to arrange pickup, setup and drop-off of the signs. In addition, the City offers use of its speed reader board equipment to be used in tandem with the signs or separately.
Speeding and traffic enforcement have assumed a higher priority with Kamloops RCMP as well after concerns expressed at community forums held in April. A series of enforcement blitzes in recent weeks have netted a variety of traffic infractions, the majority of them involving speed.
“We've had a very successful traffic enforcement campaign,” said Cpl. Jodi Shelkie, adding that the campaign will continue. “It just getting the message out there. It’s changing people’s attitudes.”
She compared speeding habits with seatbelt use, recalling how her father cut out the seatbelts in a new vehicle the family purchased when she was a child. It was commonly believed in those days that people were better off being thrown clear of a vehicle in a crash. Crash survival statistics put an end to that misconception.
“Nowadays, most people feel uncomfortable without their seatbelts.”
Coun. Donovan Cavers said he’s aware of at least one neighbourhood association that has signalled an interest in having speed limits reduced on side streets to 30 km/h instead of 50. Lower limits have already been introduced in Vancouver and Victoria, he noted. He said he’s discussed the possibility with Sagebrush Neighbourhood Association.
“As a pilot program, I think it would be a great neighbourhood to do it in.”
There must be the political will and public support to bring about such changes, he added.