M.D. lends peace officer helping hand
South Peace News
A new device will be purchased by the M.D. of Big Lakes this year to locate problem areas regarding speeding.
Council agreed at its budget meeting Dec. 2 to purchase an automatic traffic data recorder for $4,500.
Community peace officer Cory Bronson requested council consider buying the new device for several reasons.
“(We) receive several complaints per year in regard to vehicles speeding on local roads,” writes Bronson in a report to council. “However, a citizen’s perception of traffic speeds does not always match with what is really happening.”
The best way to address the issue is to place an officer at the location to gather data but it is not always the answer.
“With the Protective Services limited resources, it can be difficult to justify the man hours involved or have available for the collecting of comprehensive speed data,” says Bronson. “Also, this data may not be truly accurate as drivers usually slow down when there is a patrol vehicle in the area.”
However, a recorder would record a vehicle’s speed and type while keeping track of traffic volumes for up to several weeks at a time.
“It will show whether or not a problem really exists,” says Bronson. “This data can be used to determine where stepped-up enforcement is really needed and at what times it may be required.
It could also be used to monitor bridges which have speed reductions in place for the protection of the bridge.
“It’s kind of a time-saver for me,” says Bronson, adding it would not be used on secondary roads.
Councillors liked the idea and agreed unanimously to buy the recorder, however, Grouard Councillor Fern Welch expressed concern.
“The secondary goes right through Grouard so why wouldn’t we use it there?” she asked.
“It’s not our jurisdiction,” relied Reeve Alvin Billings.
M.D. manager Jeff Renaud adds the recorder can also be used as a tool for traffic counts.
“It might make resource road grant applications easier,” he says, adding the government insists on traffic counts reaching certain levels before grants are considered.
Although the government does not recognize such counts – they first hire a person who does a count on location – it would still be useful to council.
Public Works Supt. Len Racher says the government does recognize the traffic counts of engineering companies. The County of Grande Prairie, from where he came, uses DXH Engineering.
“It’d be nice to know if we even have a case (before we apply),” says Triangle, Gilwood Councillor Ken Matthews.
The M.D. does have traffic counters in their inventory but they do not record the speed of vehicles.
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