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Peninsula residents reach out over speeders
A pair of Peninsula residents – independent of one another – are calling on police to get tough on motorists speeding through White Rock and South Surrey.
Ron Eves of White Rock has taken his concerns about an apparent drop in enforcement to his city’s mayor and police chief, while James Cooper of Surrey has asked that his MLA and police bring more attention to stretches of his neighbourhood’s roadways, including 8 Avenue, east of 176 Street, and 176 Street, from the border to Highway 1.
Both men say enforcement of the cities’ speed limits is lacking.
Eves is hoping ICBC statistics he shared that show a drop in the number of tickets issued in White Rock over the last seven years will be enough of a nudge to inspire action.
“I’m hoping they can see fit to spend a little more time on it,” Eves said Tuesday, noting the figures he received translate to frontline RCMP officers each writing less than one speeding ticket per month in 2010.
“What I would like to see is just reasonable traffic enforcement for our city.”
But White Rock’s top cop, Staff Sgt. Lesli Roseberry, said efforts to make the city safer focus on more than just speeding.
In an April 10 email to council, Eves and Peace Arch News, Roseberry notes that her 16 general duty officers issued more than 1,000 traffic violation tickets in 2011, for offences ranging from speeding to aggressive and impaired driving.
The volume of citations “illustrates a high level of commitment to road safety,” she writes.
“Of course, in the deployment of our resources, we are always seeking increased efficiencies and a level of effectiveness that surpasses expectations.”
(Roseberry was not available for further comment by PAN deadline Wednesday.)
Eves, an engineering consultant who grew up in Crescent Beach, doesn’t dispute that the detachment’s crew does a good job overall.
But when it comes to tackling speeding, they could do more, he said.
Mayor Wayne Baldwin told PAN that while he appreciates Eves’ efforts to gather the information, he believes it is unfair to use the statistics to draw the conclusion that enforcement is lacking. It could be that more warnings are being given, or more work is being done by community policing members to address the issue, he said.
“There’s an assumption there that because there’s less ticketing, there’s less time being spent on it,” Baldwin said Tuesday. “We have information from our RCMP detachment that what we’re doing is OK. It sounds like there’s a difference of opinion there. I think we have to go with the information we’re provided by our professionals.”
The ICBC statistics Eves received show police in White Rock issued a total of 212 speeding tickets in 2011, down from 292 in 2005. The drops he’s most concerned about are in the number of tickets issued for excessive speed (three in 2011 compared to 10 in 2005) and for speeding in playground or school zones (combined numbers indicate no such tickets were issued in 2005; one ticket for speeding in a school zone was issued in 2011).
Ticket numbers for 2011 were up, however, under the category of ‘speed against a municipal sign’. Ninety such tickets were issued last year, compared to 63 in 2005 and 50 in 2010.
Eves believes increased attention to enforcement, along with clearly signed ‘transition zones’ in areas where speed limits drop significantly, so that drivers have sufficient time to adjust, are steps that could help.
Baldwin said city officials will “definitely look” at the issue, however, “we may not come to the same conclusions.”
Cooper, a Surrey resident, said he took his concerns regarding South Surrey roads to his Surrey-Cloverdale MLA, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon, last month after police told him they didn’t have the manpower to deal with traffic complaints unless the public provides them with the full details of each offender.
An April 2 email response from Falcon’s constituency assistant, Natasha Westover, sympathizes with Cooper’s frustration but states there is little the MLA’s office can do.
Westover encouraged Cooper to ask police to set up radar in the problem areas, and noted it helps to make the request through the local RCMP office, especially if more than one person is calling for it.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Barb Creighton agreed.
Creighton said speeding is the subject of regular complaints at the Surrey detachment, and officers do what they can to address the problem. Other, more serious files, often take priority, she said.
Creighton recommended anyone with neighbourhood concerns to take them to the district police office. In South Surrey, it is located at 1815 152 St.
Statistics released by ICBC Wednesday note that volunteers across the Lower Mainland, including Surrey and White Rock, spent about 100,000 hours delivering road-safety programs last year. Such efforts over the past five years have resulted in a steady decrease in speed-related crashes, the news release states.