Councillor Stephen Blais encouraging driver & pedestrian safety
Cumberland City Councillor and anti-speeding champion Stephen Blais is renewing his yearly efforts to encourage residents to slow down and come to a complete stop at stop signs in our community to help ensure pedestrians, especially children, are not put at harm’s way.
“Reckless speeding, especially near parks and schools, and stop sign rolling continues to pose safety problems in our community,” says Blais. “I am once again encouraging everyone to take a moment and think ‘what if it was my child’ when they are driving through our community.”
In 2014, Blais launched the ‘SLOW DOWN!’ Campaign to encourage residents to slow down, pay more attention while driving and be mindful of their surroundings. 10 streets in Cumberland Ward have seen flexible centre line stakes installed. These flex stakes depict a recommended speed for the area as well as call attention to the possibility of children whether it be playing at a park or in a school zone.
“The SLOW DOWN! awareness campaign has been quite successful and our focus on neighbourhood traffic issues is showing positive results,” adds Blais. “Speeding has been reduced on streets that have flex stakes installed. In some cases, speeding has been reduced by as much as 33% with speed limit compliance reaching as high as 98%.”
“Slow Down for Us” signs have also been made available to residents and community associations for installation on front lawns.
“These simple signs help remind motorists that children may be playing in the area and to SLOW DOWN! and be mindful of your surroundings,” adds Blais.
Additional measures have been taken in cooperation with local communities including reducing speed limits, installing stop signs at critical intersections, using paint to provide better guidance to motorists, adding bike lanes and building wider multiuse pathways.
In 2014 City Councillor Stephen Blais also launched the “I Stop, You Stop” road safety campaign. The “I Stop, You Stop” in an educational campaign from Safer Roads Ottawa to remind motorists of the importance of stopping for school buses whose lights are flashing and stop arms deployed.
“I am proud of how residents and community groups are banding together to protect our community,” adds Blais. “We all have a collective responsibility to slow down, understand our surroundings and come to a complete stop to improve the safety of our streets for everyone, especially our children.”
In 2012, Councillor Blais published an article regarding “What if it was your child?”. For speeders, my argument was simple to understand: What is lost on some drivers is that speeding endangers the lives of their own family and their neighbours. For more information on my published article please read: “What if it was your child?”
“School is about to start again and we all need to be aware that when we are back to our regular commutes, there will once again be children walking to and from school,” adds Blais. “We are all living our lives these days at a ‘just in time’ speed – but ask yourself, are the few seconds that you will save by driving faster than the speed limit – really worth the risk?”