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Silent policemen slowing traffic on Fowlers Road

By Chris Lewis | Aug. 20, 2020

Not all drivers are pleased with the them, but some residents on Fowlers Road in Chamberlains are welcoming the installation of raised speed bumps, or ‘Silent Policemen’ in some people’s parlance.

Two of the raised traffic bumps, covering the full width of the street, have been installed on the busy connection road between Route 60 and the Manuels Arterial.

Ward-1 councillor Darrin Bent said he hopes it will ease some of the concerns locals have had about speeding over the years.

The designated speed limit is 40 km/h, but some people go faster than that, especially as gravity takes hold of vehicles heading north on the steeply inclined street.

Deborah Raymond is among those concerned citizens of Fowler’s Road, having lived there for 26 years and getting a front row seat to some of the most excessive speeding the street has seen.

“This is our neighbourhood, and sometimes we can’t even go out and enjoy being on our front lawn anymore, because it just doesn’t feel safe. It’s too dangerous,” she said. “I just wish people had respect for our neighbourhood.”

When Raymond moved to Fowler’s Road in 1994, she said she expected to see more traffic – and more problematic drivers – as the area developed and grew. Still, she said she did not quite expect it to reach the levels that she has seen.

With the help of a smartphone app, Raymond and her neighbours have been able to track the speeds of some drivers, if they are quick on the draw. Among some of the worst she has seen came just recently when one driver was clocked by the app as doing just over 130 km/h. That’s 90 km/h over the limit.

“It’s scary stuff. I think it’s just a matter of time before something terrible happens,” Raymond said.

Bent said when the Town was looking over the plans for upgrades to Fowler’s Road, there were three things they kept at the forefront: Safety, condition of the road itself, and ensuring it remains a viable roadway well into the future.

In the original engineering work, it was suggested that a raised crosswalk be among the things added to the road. This, Bent said, is set to serve multiple purposes including keeping pedestrians safe and in a driver’s line of sight long before approaching the crosswalk, as well as “traffic calming.”

Now that the work has come to a close, Fowler’s Road has been widened in places to accommodate a third lane. Bent said this will hopefully serve to ease traffic tension and keep the many motorists using Fowler’s Road a safe distance apart, and away from pedestrians. As well, with a turning lane in place, traffic will not be impeded as often as drivers turn in to the various side roads leading to smaller residential areas.

“(Fowler’s Road) is right off the highway. People roll around the stop signs there a bit, and I think they tend to still be in highway mode,” said the councillor. “They’re going a little faster than they should, so I think this location for a raised crosswalk was a great safety measure for pedestrians. It’ll also help keep traffic in line as they get into the mindset of driving on a road instead of a highway.”

The raised crosswalks come equipped with buttons that can be pushed to activate flashing lights, further alerting motorists to pedestrians.

“Fowler’s Road is one of the top collector roads in all of Conception Bay South, likely one of, if not the busiest, road in the town,” said Bent. “There’s a lot of traffic there because there’s a lot of residential areas in and around Fowler’s Road. It’s a main route to get in and out of that area of town. It’s one of those situations where you really need lots of safety measures. Even though it started out as a smaller road in a smaller community many years ago, it’s role in the community has expanded greatly.”

Bent and Raymond said they feel as though the improvements have changed the way motorists approach driving on Fowler’s Road.

“I think it’s in the minds of the residents now that they need to slow down in preparation for (the raised crosswalks.) I think, over time, it will become a natural part of the back-and-forth travel through there,” Bent said, adding he has heard mostly positive remarks from residents since the work was completed.

Raymond said so far, the changes have had a positive impact on the speeding concerns of her and her neighbours. Although it has not completely nullified the issue, she is glad to see it.

“Everybody’s in a rush these days. I don’t know where they’re going, but they’re always in a rush to get somewhere. But, this has slowed some people down which is nice to see,” she said.

Raymond said another good step would be increased police patrols.

In the meantime, she is pleased to see people heeding the new crosswalks.

Bent said it’s possible other parts of Conception Bay South may get raised crosswalks in the future.

The Town had recently purchased some speed humps that can be picked up and placed down as the seasons permit, using them particularly in places such as Red Bridge Road near the Sgt. Ned Nugent field, and Worsley Park in Chamberlains.

“We’ve had other calls for speed humps in different places around town, and we’ve had some calls for raised crosswalks as well. I suspect that’ll happen going forward, but any decision like that boils down to traffic studies to see what’s required, and what’s allowed, in each individual area,” Bent said.

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