A Takhini Avenue resident is asking the City of Whitehorse for an exception to keep the homemade signs he’s installed asking drivers to slow down through the neighbourhood.
At Whitehorse city council’s May 19 meeting, a submission from Darren Susin of 33 Takhini Ave. was read into the record.
Delegates like Susin cannot currently make in-person presentations at council meetings due to COVID-19 distancing measures, but presentations like his are read into the record at council meetings.
In his submission, Susin argued many drivers travel too fast on his street, a street that is home to a number of young children.
“There are at least 15 children under the age of 12 on this street, and like most kids, they love playing outside,” he noted.
Susin reached out to Coun. Steve Roddick about the situation last October with his concerns then being forwarded to the city’s street sign and traffic committee.
In late February, city engineering manager Taylor Eshpeter informed Susin that Takhini Avenue will be added to the list of streets the city is collecting traffic data about that could impact future decisions.
“This is good news and I am happy to hear that will happen,” he said.
In the meantime, however, Susin opted to take action in an effort to slow vehicles down, building three wooden signs with SLOW written on them, similar to homemade signs found in other neighbourhoods. One was placed in front of his own home with the other two at other nearby homes.
“While the signs are small … there are two houses on our street that continue to call bylaw on me and the other families that have the signs in front of their house,” Susin stated, noting bylaw last contacted him about it on May 9 and at that time bylaw officers told him they would start issuing fines next time they are contacted about the signs.
The regulations on signs are outlined in the zoning bylaw with fines for violating the bylaw set at between $250 and $500.
Susin asked that until there is something permanent in place to help slow traffic on the street, the city allow an exception to keep the signs in place.
“If bylaw is called for homemade signs, I am hoping they can tell the complainant that these signs are allowed, given that their only purpose is to encourage driver caution,” Susin stated. “It is understandable that council doesn’t want dozens of different signs on the street; however, such signs that encourage safe driving are an obvious public good.”
In an interview after the meeting, Mayor Dan Curtis said that while he empathizes with Susin, there can be issues with drivers not noticing signs and the messages they contain if there are too many signs along roadways. Drivers, he argued, can become “sign blind.”
During the meeting, a number of council members noted they’d like to see photos of the signs and stated they too have seen a number of similar homemade signs around town.
Coun. Steve Roddick also asked for information on the number of complaints bylaw is dealing with, while Coun. Laura Cabott wondered about the possibility of using a device that shows drivers’ speeds on the road.
City manager Linda Rapp said staff would follow up with council on the questions.
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