Speeding and related issues in Ponoka

It is gratifying to hear that other town residents seem to be getting fed up with the speeding vehicles in Ponoka.

Dear Editor,

It is gratifying to hear that other town residents seem to be getting fed up with the speeding vehicles in Ponoka. Our elected officials seem unable or unwilling to get the police assigned to the town to do the job that we pay them to do; something that continues to mystify me. Our streets are being used like the drivers are running a practice session for a rally race and the more noise generated the better. The speeders act with impunity because they rely on the fact that our street policing effort is next to zero.   The secondary issue associated with the speeding is the NOISE factor; yet another matter that Ponoka town council is not addressing in the form of an effective noise bylaw that can then be enforced.  The result is a free for all with obnoxious, modified vehicles ripping around all over town. Classic examples of our homegrown speedways are 48 and 50 Ave in Riverside along with 53 Ave. I have seen all forms of speeding, stunting and careless driving on 48 Ave. I am sure there are many more areas as well that I do not personally witness. So what is it going to take for the total council to step up and get the speeding issues under control? I would hope that the RCMP provide some statistical data on policing efforts within the town at some micro level that councilors could use to make informed decisions.

My discussions with the town have indicated that we are paying for some 12 officers assigned to town duty for our 6800 residents. I personally do not see where the taxpayer is getting value with this arrangement, but each resident can make their own assessment as to what kind of policing they would expect to see with 12 officers. For comparative purposes, a staff of 17 police officers handles the city of Lacombe (POP 13,500) and their mandate is to have two officers on every shift and they do use lasers to tag speeders. It would be nice to see that kind of effort in Ponoka.

The hard reality is that since what we have been doing is not working, it is time to look at another solution. I have long been an advocate of the speed humps in problem areas of town for reasons that have already been voiced in other letters to the editor. When a viable alternative is sought in the form of speed humps, it is met with “pain in the ass” comments from a councillor. This leadership thinking may be suitable for some forums but not at a town council meeting.

A little time spent in the research mode vs. antagonistic mode might actually reveal some facts on speed bumps vs. speed humps and bring knowledge instead of more imaginary problems.  Speed humps, also called calming strips are used in a lot of locations in North America to combat speeding issues without causing the annoyance associated with speed bumps.  They do not really present any problem for people travelling the speed limit. They can aid policing efforts and are generally supported by police in that they are self-controlling and do not require the necessity of a paid person in a uniform. Paying for humps is always a concern but a little more effort in street police work might produce fine revenue that would go to buy speed humps and then eventually free up the police to get on to other things that they like to do.

Safety should not put at risk because of money.

I would encourage residents to continue to speak out to our councilors on these issues and maybe someday they will get around to solving real problems instead of worrying about spitting and loitering issues.

Wes Jacobson