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Council calls on region for more safety zones

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

The city is pushing for the region to establish more community safety zones.

At its latest meeting, council approved a motion introduced by Ward 2 city and regional councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri asking Durham Region to investigate more safety zones and speed reductions, specifically in areas near schools or where crossing guards are in place.

He also wants a report to come back to the region’s works committee as soon as possible.

Marimpietri noted there are only 15 community safety zones out of a list of more than 60 possible locations on regional roads in Oshawa.

Without support from the region, Marimpietri said the city doesn’t “have the parameters” to designate community safety zones, and will be “outside looking in.”

Ward 4 city councillor Derek Giberson said he can barely keep up with the amount of complaints he receives about speeding.

As traffic volumes increase, he believes the city is going to be “dealing with these request for years to come.”

To Ward 5 city and regional councillor Brian Nicholson, the motion is a step in the right direction but more needs to be done.

“We need to be aggressive in dealing with our traffic and speeding issues,” Nicholson stated.

He noted the stretch of Simcoe Street South from Wentworth Street to Lakeview Park is one of the most dangerous in the city.

Despite a crossing guard being placed near Bobby Orr Public School, problems remain.

“It’s to the point where the crossing guard is taking their lives in their hands to keep the kids safe,” he said.

Nicholson said too often it is “our friends and neighbours” who are the ones speeding, and the city needs to send a message of no tolerance for these habits to the community.

Ward 3 city and regional councillor Bob Chapman noted automated speed enforcement tools such as photo radar and red light cameras can only be installed in community safety zones.

“Anything that helps the safety around these areas in our region and our city are very important. We need to get this into the region’s works department’s hands,” he said of the motion.

Mayor Dan Carter noted there have been huge issue with residents parking on both sides of the streets near school zones.

He said this causes visibility issues and “kids are darting in and out” from behind parked cars.