While we can't say we are vehemently opposed to the establishment of another speed zone within city limits, we have to raise the question as to why our city's administration, management and law enforcement teams would feel that it's necessary to expend the time, talent and money on this particular subject.
Injecting a 40 km/h speed limit in specific residential sectors of the city, a question which voters will be asked during a plebiscite in October, while retaining a 50 km/h in more travelled regions and 80 km/h on the city's outskirts and 30 km/h around schools and playparks and another speed limit in back lanes, means that local drivers will be too busy just checking on speed limit signs instead of the pavement in front of them as they tour through our civic byways and highways. Is it 80 km here? Where is the school? Is this a new slower speed neighbourhood? Where's the signs that'll tell me what's legal?
Rather than establishing a plethora of speed zones, each one with their expected margins of forgiveness, we would rather see robust enforcement of the speed laws that are already in effect and religiously being ignored by the general population.
Now that Estevan has a member of the police service assigned directly to enforcement of motoring regulations, we find it rather bewildering that council and administration may hand him more muddle for the mix. If the mandate is enforcement, then the message is not getting any clearer.
What we would prefer is a hike in the fines assessed to speeders and those who defy general motoring laws like texting while driving or refusing to wear seatbelts.
In this city where “loose change” is often interpreted as a $100 bill, we probably need a minimum fine of $600 and up to $1,000 for speeding. In a city that boasts of more millionaires per capita than any other in the province, a $200 speeding ticket isn't going to warrant much attention or respect.
Too often we have observed and heard drivers actually accelerating through a 30 km/h speed zone near a play park or school yard, rather than decreasing the pressure on the accelerator. Certain sectors in the city serve as acceleration test zones for drivers in their newly acquired hemi-laden three-quarter ton trucks or new sports car. And motorcyclists, in particular, have been granted grand relief and a free pass from anything resembling a noise bylaw.
Those are elements we feel need to be cleared up and cleaned up before a passage of another befuddling bylaw that simply shakes a forbidding finger at the miscreants who ignore it.
From what we have heard from city hall, the new enforcement blitz is paying off with more drivers being stopped and charged for speeding, tinted windows and texting/phoning while driving.
What we suggest is that current bylaws and regulations be updated to reflect the current economic conditions in Estevan while leaving speed zones as they are. We need ambitious enforcement of what is already in place, not another unnecessary layer of regulation that drivers will simply ignore ... until caught and fined appropriately.