A sign from the Neighbourhood Speed Campaign, launched in Whitehorse, is photographed Mar. 15. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

A sign from the Neighbourhood Speed Campaign, launched in Whitehorse, is photographed Mar. 15. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

Campaign aims to slow drivers’ speeds

Street leaders invited to apply for toolkit

Whitehorse drivers can expect new signs to turn up on residential side streets reminding them to slow down.

A campaign launched recently by the Yukon RCMP, Yukon government and the City of Whitehorse aims to lower driving speeds around Whitehorse.

The Neighbourhood Speed Campaign got underway this month but has been in the works since May 2020, Cpl. Natasha Dunmall said in a March 15 interview.

Those signed up for the campaign receive a toolkit that includes a lawn sign to be placed for a two-week period that reminds drivers to slow down and drive safely, as well as a window decal for their vehicle which identifies them as part of the “pace car” community.

As stated on the campaign website, the pace car community is a global movement “to increase safety on roads all over the world”.

Members of the movement pledge to “drive to the posted speed limit at all times; and be more aware of and courteous to other road users.”

With yard signs moving between various streets every two weeks, a street leader for each participating street needs to be appointed by neighbours.

The appointed leader then fills out an application for the street to be part of the program along with collecting pace car pledge forms from participants on the street. The application and pledge forms are then submitted to the city’s street sign and traffic committee, which reviews the application.

Once approved, the street leader will be responsible for distributing and collecting the signs and window decals for participants on the street.

While the program has been built for the territory — with the potential being considered to expand to other communities after Whitehorse — Dunmall said it’s based around a number of similar, successful campaigns elsewhere.

The “Hey neighbour, slow down” campaign in Chilliwack, B.C. was among those with signs placed on residential roads.

Dunmall noted that studies have shown that such campaigns can result in drivers’ speeds slow by up to 16 per cent. It may not seem like a lot, but it can make the difference between a pedestrian being seriously injured or walking away from a collision, she said.

The Whitehorse campaign came out of continual concerns that come into the city’s traffic committee, RCMP and the territory about speeding on residential streets. Dunmall noted there doesn’t seem to be one particular neighbourhood impacted, but rather streets in every neighbourhood.

The signs, as well as the window decals, encourage drivers to slow down and be more aware of others. The two-week period for the signs to be put up in front yards was established to ensure there’s substantial time for drivers to see the signs and perhaps change their driving habits without being in place so long they are no longer noticed by those who regularly drive through the neighbourhood.

“We’re habitual drivers,” Dunmall said, noting that RCMP are continuing with their own enforcement for speeding in residential neighbourhoods, with the campaign serving as another way to remind drivers to slow down.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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