Two years after residents of St. Davids began discussions with town councillors about wanting a community safety zone in the village, the Region has approved the request, putting the signs up just in time for the start of a new school year.
St. Davids Ratepayers Association president Greg Dell says it’s a good start, one he’s happy to see, with signs warning traffic as it travels through the St. Davids Public School area. It addresses concerns about safety through the village along York Road, a busy stretch for traffic, from Queenston Road to Concession 3, and should be a help for the school crossing guard and students trying to get to school safely.
However, the request was for the designation, which is accompanied by fines being doubled for speeding, be applied to Four Mile Creek Road, also owned by the Region, on either side of York Road.
“I’m impressed with the depth and nature of this, but we asked for a portion of Four Mile Creek Road to be designated as well. Cars come down the hill quickly from Niagara Falls, and through the intersection to Line 9,” he said.
“It’s a good first step, but we’re hoping it’s only the first phase. We’d like to see a second phase that includes Four Mile Creek Road. We asked for it to be designated as well, and we’re not sure why it wasn’t.”
The village has grown enormously in the last decade or more, and it will see another 2,000 to 3,000 families in the coming years, he says.
“We’re also working on a sidewalk system for children coming out of Cannery Park. We want it to continue to the school.”
The request for the community safety zone goes back to July, 2017, when the previous council agreed to ask the Region to look at improving safety for pedestrians in the village.
York Road begins with a 60 kilometre-an-hour speed limit as it enters the village, which is reduced to 40 km/hr as it approaches the school zone. Crossing guards have told him there have been several close calls when traffic doesn’t slow down, says Dell.
He says with the safety zone designation comes increased police presence to reduce speeding, with fines doubled for drivers who don’t obey the limits.
Regional Coun. Gary Zalepa says he believes the idea behind designating York Road was to see how it works out, and whether it has an impact on safety, before proceeding.
The Region is looking at changing the York Road/Four Mile Creek Road intersection, although there is no design chosen at this point.
Zalepa says it would make more sense to wait until the design has been completed before moving ahead to designate Four Mile Creek Road.
Before approving the resolution for the community safety zone, he says, there was a dialogue with the Niagara Regional Police, who agreed to increased police presence to ensure speed limits are followed.