Residents living along one of the oldest roads in B.C., once travelled by slow-moving stage coaches, are fed up with an influx of motorists who have a lead foot.
Backed by a survey of Old Esquimalt Road homeowners who agree there is a serious speeding problem, Tony Cond, Robert Youds and Joe Rozon arrived at Esquimalt Municipal Hall last week to ask council to safeguard residents.
They requested $70,000 from the 2012 budget be spent on the installation of seven speed tables – which are lower, wider and less jarring than speed humps and force drivers to slow to 30 km/h – along the road, between Dominion Road and Park Terrace.
“Some of these cars go by at some horrible rates – 70 or 80 km/h in a 30 (km/h zone),” said Cond.
When the speeding issue was first raised in 1995, the township contracted a study in 1997 that suggested seven speed humps be installed to address the problem, said Cond, who banded together with Youds and Rozon in 2010 to form the Old Esquimalt Road Safety Committee.
Amid some residents’ concerns that the humps “would spoil the neighbourhood,” in 2002 council of the day backed off the issue, Cond recalled.
But the problem has only gotten worse in recent years with the addition of traffic-calming measures on Esquimalt Road, he said, and as a result motorists are using the back street as a bypass route.
Their survey of residents “was a strong indicator that there would be overwhelming residential support for council to now implement speed-control measures in their community along Old Esquimalt Road,” Cond told council.
“I think we deserve some respect. The thing is nobody’s respecting anybody anymore. They just selfishly go through at 70 or 80 km/h,” he said.
Due to its potential budget implications, a staff report on the issue will likely come before council in February, said Mayor Barb Desjardins, who declined to comment further on residents’ concerns before receiving the staff report.
“Certainly police and engineering have worked with this group,” she said. “They have expressed their concerns over a number of years.”