Common sense dictates that when one is driving through any of our beautiful Victoria neighbourhoods, the object is not to get to the end of the block as fast as mechanically possible. Common sense also dictates that instead of looking at their spedometers, drivers are judging an appropriate speed based on their surroundings: cyclists, pedestrians, hidden driveways, crosswalks, school zones, playground zones, wandering peacocks, etc.
Town council’s recent decision to lobby the province in an effort to reduce the residential speed limit from 50 km/h to 40 km/h across the Island shows that drivers can’t be trusted to use common sense, so, obviously, the answer is more rules.
Unfortunately, it’s not the drivers who are already obeying the current speed limit that are causing any of the problems on our streets. If they were, council would have reams of stats to show that driving 50 km/h is a high-risk. The stats aren’t there.
The problem is stupid drivers, and dropping the speed limit won’t make those drivers any more intelligent. A guy who ignores a 50 km/h sign is even more likely to ignore a 40 km/h sign — so what have you gained apart from a higher speeding ticket if the culprit is caught? And to catch him, where are you getting the extra police?
Besides, most law-abiding drivers in Victoria can barely make it up to 50 km/h with stop signs or traffic lights at the end of every block. So no matter how well-intentioned this resolution may be, it won’t actually solve the problem.
Council will, however, be able to hold up its hand and say it tried. It passed a problem that’s been around since our horse and buggy days onto the province, and if that higher power does nothing, well, that’s not the city’s fault.
The truth is, if you really want to stop speeding in a residential neighbourhood, you need to install those big, pain-in-the-ass speedbumps that make speedsters crack their skulls into their car roofs and knock their finely-tuned suspensions into the shop for an expensive repair.
Yes, the bumps are ugly, require annual upkeep, and can rattle your fillings loose, but they always make you slow down. Speed limits, not so much. M
Song stuck in my head
Zoe Boekbinder has one of those voices that glides into your ear and curls up in a ball somewhere in your brain to whisper dark secrets of loneliness and redemption. On her latest 7” EP, Sister Scarecrow, this Canadian songstress delivers a unique blend of acoustic folk and electronic pop, but it’s her cover of Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man” that really gets stuck in your head. Where Cohen aims for sexy, Boekbinder delivers an intriguing melancholy.