I want to pass my enthusiastic congratulations to the Hintonburg Community Association on the near-completion of its 40 km/h initiative. Its press release is copied below. In summary, its volunteers have achieved the required 66% concurrence from residents on every street to reduce the speed limit to 40 km/h. All that remains, we're told, is to put up the signs.
This is an opportune time to note that the HCA shouldn't have had to do this. They've made a back-of-the-envelope guess that going door-to-door and adhering to the administrative process for accomplishing this was likely around 1,700 hours of work. There's no reason to doubt that this is in the right ballpark. I'm very thankful they were willing to put so much time into this, but that's a huge opportunity cost to other potential initiatives.
On November 10, I held a community safety meeting to discuss resident concerns in the vicinity of Bayswater and Somerset, and the immediate area. We held the meeting in the wake of several violent incidents beginning on October 21 when there was the discharge of a firearm in the street, followed in relatively quick succession by a knifepoint robbery, gunpoint robbery, then a stabbing. The Happy Goat coffee was packed with around 90 residents to discuss the incidents, and what we as a community could do.
I can't summarize the whole meeting in one post, but there were several highlights that should be pointed out.
Multiple residents told us that the Vibe Cafe at that corner, and the parking lot next to it, has been a challenge for several years. Even though Vibe lost its liquor licence this year, residents continue to feel unsafe in its vicinity as they say persons who congregate in the parking lot act aggressively to people living nearby. Residents spoke about drug and drinking activity in the vicinity that is unacceptable. The recent fights on the street are consistent with what residents describe as a perpetual problem in the area.
This morning, Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that the provincial government will introduce legislation to allow cities to use speed cameras and reduce speed limits in school zones. Councillors Catherine McKenney (Somerset) and Jeff Leiper (Kitchissippi) applaud this intiative, which reflects a longstanding desire on the part of residents of both wards for safer streets.
At the Transportation Committee of City Council in May, both McKenney and Leiper appealed to colleagues to support safety cameras as an important tool in reducing speed in the vicinity of schools and in residential neighbourhoods. Intensification and increasing congestion are leading to more aggressive driving, and automated tools combined with lower speed limits will help address this problem.