Drive slowly, protect kids, Iqaluit bylaw officers urge

City to install speed bumps in selected neighbourhoods

By CHRIS WINDEYER

A car passes close to child bicycling on the road in Lower Iqaluit July 9. The city is rolling out an information campaign and installing portable speed bumps to get Iqaluit drivers to slow down around children. (PHOTO BY CHRIS WINDEYER)


A car passes close to child bicycling on the road in Lower Iqaluit July 9. The city is rolling out an information campaign and installing portable speed bumps to get Iqaluit drivers to slow down around children. (PHOTO BY CHRIS WINDEYER)

Ever since the City of Iqaluit paved most of its streets two years ago, vehicles move faster and the number of kids playing on or around the roads makes the average commute seem like an obstacle course.

So the city’s bylaw enforcement and fire department are teaming up to urge drivers to slow down before someone gets hurt —or worse.

Chris Wilson, Iqaluit deputy fire chief, said the fire department will start parking fire trucks with banners reading “Keep our kids safe —drive slow” in residential areas.

“We’re going to pick out select neighbourhoods where there’s been a much more heightened problem, and we’re going to park our [fire truck] up near there as people are going home from work,” Wilson said.

He said most of the complaints about speed are coming from Tundra Valley, Lower Iqaluit and the 400 and 1600 neighbourhoods, and that’s where city staff will target their efforts.

And they won’t only ask drivers to slow down, they’ll be telling them too, with temporary speed bumps that are scheduled to arrive on the first sealift.

Based on an online search, temporary speed bumps are usually made of heavy-duty rubber and cost anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars depending on the model.

“If you hit them at a high speed you can be pretty much guaranteed to damage something on the bottom of your vehicle,” said Jennifer Blake, a municipal enforcement officer with the city.

The complaints about speedy drivers come alongside an increase in the use of the smooth asphalt roads as a playground by local kids, especially those riding bicycles and skateboards.

“It’s kind of parent 101: don’t let your kids play in the street,” Wilson said.

So bylaw and fire department officials are also urging parents to make sure their kids play in playgrounds and schoolyards, instead of roadways.

Wilson also said officers will be handing out treats like free movie passes to kids seen wearing bike helmets and playing safely.

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