Skip to content

Williams Lake resident raises concerns over fast drivers

She worries for her pets and the safety on her street
Eleventh Avenue in Williams Lake is a straight stretch of residential road one resident said she sees drivers speeding on far too often. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

A resident along Eleventh Avenue in Williams Lake said she doesn’t know where to turn, after calling RCMP and city officials about speeding drivers.

Since moving into the neighbourhood nearly four years ago, Phyllis Bingham has been concerned with people driving at high rates of speed along the straight residential street, which has a speed limit of 50 km per hour.

While she has called both the RCMP and the city of Williams Lake to share her concerns, she has not seen any change in driver behaviour, leaving her frustrated.

City and RCMP both said they are doing what they can in relation to speeding drivers in the community.

Staff Sgt. Brad McKinnon said Williams Lake RCMP take these complaints seriously and use a multi-faceted approach to enforcement.

“People should feel safe when they go out to get their mail,” he said.

RCMP have to weigh competing priorities, and with high levels of violence in the community recently, members can not always be everywhere or attend themselves, he said, but added he wants the community to keep reporting their concerns.

The RCMP use this data to help focus their enforcement and are working closely with Citizens on Patrol (COP) and Highway Patrol to address speeding in key areas. McKinnon said COP has had speed watch out in the community to take note of driver speeds and record licence plates, which helps provide more data as well.

COP conducted speed watch in June, July and September. Around 70 drivers were counted at the September speed watch, with none of those drivers going over 51 km per hour, so McKinnon did say the vast majority of drivers are obeying speed limits, but adding the concerns are valid.

He said the RCMP will continue to do their best to address issues with a strategic approach.

City staff have called Bingham back to discuss her concerns, and there was a speed reader installed on the street for some time but it has since been moved to Blair Street to draw attention to speeders within the school zone near Cataline Elementary.

Rob Warnock, director of municipal services for the city, said for them it really comes down to enforcement, which is the responsibility of the RCMP.

“Most of the people are doing the speed limit and there’s the odd one that’s not,” he said.

Warnock said the city is unable to issue tickets, and the problem is everywhere, not just on Eleventh Avenue.

“People do 60, 70 down the street,” he said.

He said concerned residents should call the RCMP if they see unsafe drivers, though he said with other priorities, they may not always be available to respond.

Bingham said she has seen increased police presence and enforcement for short periods, but once the RCMP leave, driver behaviour returns to what it was.

She said she did not see much improvement with the speed reader, because people know there is not enforcement associated with the sign.

“I don’t know if it helps,” acknowledged Warnock of the speed reader.

Last month, Bingham had an encounter with the driver of a pickup when she was exercising her dog, which she does with the dog on the sidewalk while she rides her bike alongside. She said her large dog requires a lot of exercise and this is an efficient way for her to do so.

After passing what she said felt dangerously close to her, the driver stopped and got out of his vehicle to yell at her to get off the road.

According to the Motor Vehicle Act of British Columbia, a person on a bicycle is not permitted to ride on a sidewalk under most circumstances, and a new safe passing law in B.C. dictates drivers must give a minimum of one-metre distance from a cyclist when passing them where permitted.

Last week, she called the city again after she went outside to find a cat had been killed on her street, something she attributes to unsafe speeds.

Bingham said she would like to see more signage, more policing and she said she also asked about installation of a speed bump or similar measure.

Warnock said no other traffic calming measures were currently being considered by the city.