Flashing speed-limit signs popping up around White Rock are hoped to quell the pace of drivers along key city roads.
The first, at the corner of Stayte Road and Marine Drive, was installed about a week ago, and began working June 20. Directed at westbound drivers, it’s intended to remind those coming from Surrey that the speed limit drops to 30 km/h along the popular waterfront strip.
“In Surrey, it’s 60 (km/h), and they’re coming into 30, so it’s really an abrupt change,” said Paul Slack, the city’s operations manager.
Sgt. Roland Pierschke said motorists on Marine Drive have been clocked at 80 and 90 km/h. He noted that, in recent weeks, police have impounded the vehicles of at least three drivers who were travelling far too fast – more than 50 km/h over the posted limit.
On a first offence for excessive speeding, racing or stunting, police can impound a vehicle for seven days.
Other signs are to go up at the west end of Marine Drive, where the speed limit dips to 30 km/h from 50 – for eastbound motorists – and on North Bluff Road, approaching Earl Marriott Secondary.
In the latter, the sign will flash the 50 km/h speed limit to eastbound drivers.
“I don’t see too many people just going 50 along North Bluff,” Slack said.
Police input helped determine the locations and type of sign. They flash the speed limit rather than drivers’ current speed because drivers respond better, Slack said.
“We’ve heard that if it flashes your speed, some people try to see how fast they can go.”
The signs only activate when a driver is travelling over the posted speed limit. Pierschke said police will, at random, set up a block or two down from the sites to drive home the limit to those who choose to ignore the reminder.
“Don’t be surprised if you drive by the sign, it tells you you’re going too fast, and the next block there’s a police officer giving you a ticket,” he said.
Slack said early indications are the signs will work. In early monitoring of the first site, drivers could be seen to slow down, he said.
“You can see the tail lights – brake lights – come on.”
Cost of the signs, including installation, is about $15,000 each – a price Slack said is worthwhile.
“I think the safety factor outweighs any cost right now,” he said, adding that while the posts are permanent, the speed sign boxes can be moved, should other worrisome locations be identified.
Pierschke, too, is confident the flashing signs will have an impact, noting they have made a difference in communities such as Maple Ridge. He added the data collected by the units – including traffic volume, time of day and average speed – will also help police tailor their enforcement and provide insight into whether existing strategies are working.