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Green Wave targets Springfield speeders

December 04, 2012 - 9:02 AM

The City of Kelowna is done fooling around with speeders on Springfield Road.

City councillors Monday adopted the Green Wave program, aimed at improving safety on one of the most crash-marred roads in Kelowna.

Fair warning: The initiative is set to begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
"Everything's ready to go," said Fred Wollin, City of Kelowna traffic operations supervisor.
Armed with synchronized traffic lights, speed reader boards, increased signage, an RCMP awareness campaign and, yes, increased RCMP enforcement, Green Wave is designed to cut the collision rate on Springfield Road by 15 per cent in the next three years. The program will include synchronized traffic lights on Springfield Road between Hollywood and Ziprick roads that will reward drivers going the speed limit to hit a series of green lights and not have to stop at intersections.
"It would be nice if when you went the right speed, there would be a sign that would say, 'Thank you!'" Mayor Walter Gray said.
The initiative was deemed necessary by a Safety and Operational Study by ICBC on Springfield Road that concluded that, despite improvements to many intersections along Springfield, there was an increase in the number of collisions between 2006 and 2010 than there were between 2002 and 2006.
Wollin's comprehensive report included numbers that drove the point home that the road is not getting safer, but more dangerous. For example, the improved intersections of Leckie, Graham, Gerstmar and Rutland Road South, there were more collisions, 158, between 2006 ad 2010 than there were between 2002 and 2006. 
"I find the numbers shocking," Councilloe Andre Blanlieil said. "It's just not that difficult a piece of road."
Improvements designed to improve the road actually made it less safe, Wollin said.  
"It's been a problem for about five years, since the road's been rebuilt," Wollin said. "A four-lane road squeezes through a residential area. So you widen the road, more people are speeding and crashes happen."
Councillors were mostly positive about the initiative.
"I think it's worth a try," he said. "What I've heard from so many people who love on Springfield i that this has been a continual frustration for them, the ongoing speeding. And I know that when the RCMP enforces it, people are happy, but the RCMP just can't enforce it to the level the public wants. We've got to come up with doe sort of idea. I think this is one of those fresh, out-of-the-box ideas to try and do it. I hope it changes driver behaviour." 
Councillor Maxine DeHart agreed.
"I think at the odd time, most of us tend to have a lead foot," Councillor Maxine DeHart said. "I think this is good."
John Sleeper


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