#GoSlowPtbo Resonates with Resident of Sault Ste. Marie

I was recently contacted by a resident of Sault Ste. Marie, Mr. Simone Baj, who discovered the #GoSlowPtbo traffic calming campaign when searching for solutions to educate drivers in his own neighbourhood of Foxborough Trail.

It’s exciting to connect with a transportation safety advocate from another Ontario city, and I am thrilled to be sharing the #GoSlowPtbo sign designs with Mr. Baj as he begins his own citizen-inspired, traffic calming campaign.

The rest of this post is authored by Mr. Baj, and I thank him for sharing his story and for his efforts to  make his neighbourhood a vibrant space where all road users feel safe!

‘Slow’ Kilometers per Hour Needed for Local Traffic in Sault Ste. Marie
By: Simone Baj

I live with my wife and our two girls in one of the most lovely residential areas in the Sault, immersed in a vibrant neighbourhood largely used by pedestrians and cyclists to access the nearby elementary school, parks, and Hub trail.

Despite the school zone and 40 km/h signs at each end of the road, the safety and the quality of our peaceful neighbourhood has been threatened by many careless and undisciplined drivers who are using Foxborough Trail as a “race circuit” to avoid the congested arterial streets. We are frustrated, we live on a local residential street where car traffic is expected to share the street with pedestrians and bicycles! Why are cars the “bosses”? How can we make it a safer and a more inclusive street? Tired of hearing fast cars roaring down the street, and concerned for the safety of our young kids, I decided to file a request for traffic calming measures with the city.

A mother walks near young children on their bicycles in a school zone.
The Baj’s neighbourhood is near a school, but unfortunately, drivers are not respecting the 40 km/h limits.

The engineering department collected speed and traffic data while I launched a petition in the neighbourhood. While meeting the residents, they spoke to me about their frustrations and the drastic actions some were taking, such as stepping out into the street to slow vehicles, or chasing speeders.

A traffic study conducted by the city, and our successful petition, qualified us for traffic calming measures and the engineers will likely make a recommendation for speed humps. That is great, even though our initial request for traffic calming included three items:

  1. Speed humps
  2. Stop signs at each intersection
  3. A new 30 km/h speed limit

The combination of these three measures will, in our opinion, effectively deter cut-through traffic, slow the speed, and make our street safer for all vulnerable users.

Now, with the school holiday season and the warm weather approaching, we will see more outdoor activities for kids, families and seniors. Traffic calming measures will not likely be installed until the end of the summer, if at all…

My neighbours and I question if the gentle slope of the speed humps (designed to prevent damage to snow removal vehicles) will be effective in reducing speed and deterring cut-through traffic.

Questions, uncertainty, and waiting, have increased my desire  to yell, “slow down!” to the drivers roaring down the street. So, I decided to research “slow down” sign campaigns on the web instead. In doing so, I learned that yard signs can be surprisingly effective in reducing driver speed as some studies indicated. Then, thanks to Google, I came across the three #GoSlowPtbo signs. They immediately stood out from the other sign campaigns for their unique messages, attractive and inclusive design.

The words “go slow” set a new slow speed limit, a SLOW km/h. In contrast, the classic and universally-used “Slow Down” sign, invites drivers to reduce their speed but, they could still go too fast while complying with the sign. So “go slow” is the winner and I hope it will set a new standard across the globe for yard sign campaigns.

Congratulations,  Councillor Zippel for launching such a great yard sign campaign in Peterborough. I would love to see your #GoSlowPtbo signs on my front yard, my neighbourhood yards, and perhaps in other neighbourhoods in Sault Ste. Marie.

Ultimately, I would love to see Sault Ste Marie going slow like Peterborough.

2 thoughts on “#GoSlowPtbo Resonates with Resident of Sault Ste. Marie”

    1. Ciao Luciana! Il consigliere comunale Kim Zippel sta facendo un lavoro straordinario per la nostra comunità per rallentare il traffico! Dovresti invitarla a fare una presentazione alla tua comunità su come sta apportando cambiamenti positivi! Grandi abbracci, Carlotta James (Residente a Peterborough, Ontario)

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