During off-school hours, the speed limit on Route 500 West is 60 kilometers per hour, but Christmas notes as main road, few drivers abide by the limit.
“People are flying,” said Christmas. “There are young kids here who don’t really know the real dangers of the road.”
Since the beginning of the school year, several parents have spoken with the school and the infrastructure department at the United Counties of Prescott Russell (UCPR), according to Christmas and comments on a Facebook post concerning the issue.
UCPR Roads Manager Guy Tessier said the issue with the lights was the timing as they are not turning on during the scheduled school hours. Tessier said a repair request was made and the issue was to be resolved “hopefully” by the end of the week (September 23).
However, fixing the school zone lights is only part of the solution for Christmas. Regardless of whether or not the lights are flashing, drivers are still speeding. Christmas suggests having a speed camera on that section of road would keep the kids safe.
“Having the camera there will catch speeders and prevent it,” said Christmas. “Ottawa has many cameras and it works wonders.”
A pilot project in Ottawa between 2020 and 2021 proved the cameras effective at reducing speed. The project saw a “200 per cent increase in compliance with the speed limit” as well as a significant decrease in the number of “high-end speeders.” Ottawa has since approved an expansion of the project, putting up more speed cameras around the city.
Installing and maintaining automated speed cameras is not always the solution municipalities want, according to the UCPR Public Works Director Jérémie Bouchard. Speed cameras ticket residents more often than people from outside the region, leaving locals frustrated with the tickets and municipal administrations fielding complaints. Though the UCPR is responsible for speed cameras on county roads, Bouchard says they ultimately leave the decision up to the municipalities they impact as to whether or not they want one installed.