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Radar signs installed to deter speedy drivers

Signs placed at Simcoe/Conlin, and Rossland/Minto

In an effort to deter speeding, the Region of Durham has placed radar reedback signs at intersections such as this one in Oshawa. (Photo by Chris Jones)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

In an effort to suppress speeding, the city and region are installing radar feedback signs in high traffic areas.

The signs are being installed as part of the region’s Vision Zero program.

There are two signs currently in Oshawa – the first at Simcoe Street North and Conlin Road, and the second at Rossland Road East and Minto Street.

According to Khalil Barakzai, a traffic analyst with Durham Region, the sign at Rossland and Minto has been there for six months, and rotates from the east side of the street to the west.

He says Simcoe and Conlin is a sensitive area as there have been several accidents there, some fatal.
Barakzai notes the region has seen improvement due to the presence of the signs, as they discourage aggressive driving and remind drivers of the posted speed limit.

“The radar feedback signs are meant to raise motorists’ awareness,” explains Barakzai. “[They] basically tell the drivers how fast they’re going.”

We tend to see a lot of drivers still in cruise control when they’re driving, and not necessarily realizing what the posted speed limit is, and if they do realize the posted limit, they won’t realize they’re going over the posted speed limit,” he adds.

Barakzai says often drivers will look down at their speedometer and realize they’re going up to 20 km/h over the speed limit.

“The radar signs are meant to emphasize there’s a posted speed limit for a reason, and have them pay attention to it,” he says.

The signs look like regular speed limit warnings but are slightly larger with a yellow background.

“Instead of saying the maximum speed limit, it displays your speed… and it also has the ability to flash and say ‘slow down’ if they’re going above a certain threshold,” Barakzai explains.

There is a window in which drivers can go above the speed limit and it won’t flash, but Barakzai could not disclose what it is.

“If you’re driving 55 in a 50, it’ll just display the speed limit, but if you start going about 10 over or above that, it’ll start flashing, and after a certain point it’ll display a ‘slow down’ message.”

The signs will record the vehicle’s speed and at what time, but Barakzai says information regarding any of the vehicles, such as a license plate number, traveling over the speed limit isn’t collected.

To keep drivers from speeding so they can see how fast they’re going, the signs will turn off after a certain speed.

Barakzai says data collected by the region indicates the signs are causing motorists to slow down, but couldn’t provide any specific statistics.

Another area the region is looking to potentially put a sign in Oshawa is on Simcoe, south of Rossland.

“We’re looking to expand the program within a couple of months… and once we do that, you’ll likely see a couple more in Oshawa,” Barakzai explains.

The signs initially cost the region $6,000 to $8,000 each, but that has lowered to under $5,000.

In all, the project has cost the region around $50,000 so far.