"Drive The Limit" states a window decal that will soon be prominent on the rear windows of vehicles in the Riverview community as part of a program to encourage motorists to slow down.
The Cochrane Pace Car pilot was launched in Riverview earlier today and if the one-year test is successful it might spread to other neighbourhoods experiencing the same issue.
Riverview Community Association president Gerry Ertel says the association started addressing the issue 1 1/2 years ago after a number of residents approached him expressing fear for their children, themselves and their vehicles. He brought the issue to a community meeting and stated one important fact upfront.
"I asked them, do you realize the speeders are mainly the people who live in Riverview? They all acknowledge that and they still said we needed to do something about it."
Association representatives met with town officials from community services, roads, engineering, enforcement and communications to plot out a course of action. Some of the ideas, like speed bumps, were discarded. Signage was examined and a three-pronged program of education, enhanced enforcement and the Pace Car decals was created.
"Through these elements, we're hoping to change driver behaviour to drive the limit," says Ertel.
The guesswork has been taken out of whether people are breaking the speed limit, and measurements taken by a new technology recently acquired by the town found no more than 50 per cent of motorists drive the posted speed limit and 20 per cent of them are driving 45 kph or more, says Ertel.
"One of the biggest complaints we get from communities is speeding," says Suzanne Gaida, the town's assistant chief administrative officer, and most of those infractions are by residents within the communities, so the question became how to get residents to take ownership of the issue.
"The Riverview Community Association and Gerry Ertel were the first ones to approach us to say they wanted to do something about it," says Gaida.
Decals are available to Riverview residents through their association. To ensure all residents have the opportunity to participate they'll be doing a door-to-door campaign to all 416 households, about half of whom belong to the association, starting in January. They've also prepared information sheets detailing speed limits, crosswalks and bus traffic in the neighbourhood. Financial penalties and demerits are listed so motorists fully understand the consequences of being caught breaking the law.
Chris Richards is just one Riverview resident who hopes it will have an impact. He was the first to officially place the decal in the top right corner of his truck's back window.
He says people need to be mindful while travelling through the neighbourhood because it's easy for speed to creep above 30 kph.
"In fact, a school bus just went by at a speed I'm sure was more than 30, so we could start with them."
He believes people have a habit of driving 10 km faster than the posted speed limit. If that's the case, vehicles cruising through Riverview at 40 kph are 25 per cent over the limit.
The program is based upon similar successful efforts by community groups in such places as Calgary's Rocky Ridge and Kelowna, B.C.
"We'll try it for a year and see if it makes a a difference and if it does we'll roll it out with other community associations," says Gaida. "If there are community associations that really want to take this on, we're certainly willing to work with them. They have to do all the work and get residents to sign on; we're just the providers of the information."
Other than major arteries in town, most of the speed limits are 30 kph.
"Most of the speed limits in Cochrane are 30 kph unless otherwise posted. It's interesting how many residents don't actually know that," says Gaida.