Speed cushions aim to accelerate safety on Barrie streets

Barrie officials are hoping the new pair of speed cushions on Montserrand Street will provide a big safety boost in the neighbourhood.

 "Montserrand has a pretty long straight stretch and especially with it being right next to a park it's ideal for us to slow down people as much as possible for kid's safety. Family safety. So that's why we have two speed pads in this location," said Ward 6 Councillor Natalie Harris.

 There are only 11 speed pads allotted per ward, which is why the deterrents are put in a temporary rotation. The city has also begun adding more permanent pads, including 10 more this year.

 "Instead of the temporary plastic cushions that have been going in and out every year we started putting permanent ones in using asphalt that are at a certain grade so they don't impact the snow plows in the winter," said Barrie Ward 7 Councillor, Gary Harvey.

 "We literally are watching some cars drive by and saw it helped and slowed them down," said Harris as she examined Montserrand Street.

 With limited supply, it can take a while for the rotation to reach a street in need.

"On Montserrand here this is my fourth year as a city councillor. This is the first time I've been able to get them (speed cushions) on Montserrand," lamented Harris.

Residents looking for an addition like this to their street can do their part to bring speed cushions to their neighbourhood.

 "We actually have an app that people can use now and go online and basically vote for the streets in their ward that they think should get the speed pads and after that, discussion occurs through the ward councillor and staff," reminded Harris.

"When we're looking at choosing temporary speed cushion locations we always look for pedestrian generators like our community neighbourhood parks and also our school zones as well," said Barrie's Supervisor of Traffic Operations and Community Safety, Jeff Sharp.

The traffic unit with the Barrie police has also gotten involved to help curb the speeding issue.

"A few years ago, we also started sharing all the data that was coming off of our radar boards to show them all the different areas where speeding has been an issue," said Harvey.

 The demand for speed pads is on the rise, but their cost limits how many can be in use. However, the city is trying to be proactive with the installation in new developments.

"The operating cost for our temporary speed cushion program is approximately 100 thousand dollars per year and that includes the installation and removal of approximately 80 locations throughout the city," added Sharp.

 "We're working with the actual builders and the planners are in discussion to preplan where should we have these types of pads or whether it's another diversion of some type to make the area safer," said Harris.

 Montserrand Street is one of 59 temporary traffic calming sites in Barrie this year and one of six in just Ward 6 alone.