Residents of Saanich road hold protest, pleading with drivers to slow down

WatchArmed with signs, residents of a rural Saanich road held a protest Wednesday morning calling for speed limits to be reduced. But some surprising new Saanich Police stats show speed on Prospect Lake Road may not be the problem. April Lawrence reports.

Wearing high-visibility vests and carrying signs, roughly 40 residents of Prospect Lake Road were protesting speeding drivers Wednesday morning.

“Some of my neighbours were too scared today to come out to this protest, why? Because of the aggressive drivers, because of the bullying, that says something,” said resident Renee Mulligan.

With a police escort for safety, the residents are marching because they say the narrow country road is dangerous and putting their families at risk.

“I’ve been passed at high speeds on a blind hill in a school zone while parking to pick up my daughter from school, I worry about the children,” said Mulligan.

In September, a 51-year-old motorcyclist was killed near the intersection with Munn road, and just a few days before, in the same spot, there was a rollover.

The protesters want to see the current speed limit of 50 km/hr reduced but recent Saanich Police stats show speed may not necessarily be the only problem.

Over 19 days in October, discreet reader boards showed the average southbound speed in the 4100-block at 27.94 km/hour and the average northbound at 40 km/hr.

The fastest it recorded any vehicle going southbound was 55 km/h while northbound was 70 km/hr.

But stats also show Saanich Police responded to 31 crashes on the rural road in just 16 months.

Residents say since it’s so narrow and winding, it’s even more dangerous than the numbers show.

“There’s countless close calls where you come around a corner and suddenly somebody is coming right for you in your lane and you have to slam on the brakes or swerve off to the side to avoid hitting them,” said resident Sarah Frumento.

Saanich’s mayor, who also lives on Prospect Lake Road, says ICBC is looking into it.

“If the audit comes back and says traffic calming, says change the speed, we will do it immediately no doubt about it,” said Mayor Fred Haynes.

But Haynes says lowering speeds on individual roads isn’t always the answer.

“If you change the speed on one road that doesn’t change driver behaviour,” he said.

The municipality is adding rumble strips to the centre line in the new year. The ICBC audit, which could include other recommendations, is expected by next summer.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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