Penticton isn’t going to be getting any new signs telling people to slow down.
“I think the sign that is necessary to help you slow down is the speed sign,” said Coun. Campbell Watt, one of five councillors that opposed the idea of spending $2,500 on 100 “Penticton Slow Down” signs.
The idea came to council through the Transportation Advisory Committee, who wanted to distribute the signs to community organizations as part of a safety awareness campaign.
City staff investigated and found a similar program operating in Musoka, Ont., though that was a community-driven initiative with no direct connection the municipal government.
Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations, said Muskoka had no information on the success of the program and hadn’t checked to see if the signs slowed people down or not.
Muskoka, Moroziuk said, shares similarities with Penticton. Tourism is an important part of their economy and the area has become popular with endurance athletes, also an important part of the local economy.
“If Muskoka wants to increase their population of visitors and athletes, they need to put something in place to protect them and make it enjoyable.”
Other staff research turned up a town in Orange County, California where a 16 per cent reduction in speeding was attributed to a sign program.
The majority of council was unconvinced.
“You keep adding more and more signs, and people eventually just turn them all off. If someone is will to speed past a speed limit sign, they are going to be just as willing to speed by a sign that says Penticton slow down,” said Coun. Max Picton, adding the signs would be unsightly as well as ineffective.
“I don’t want to see our city streets get cluttered with instructions: do this, don’t do that,” said Picton. “We already get complaints about such on our beaches.”
Coun. Judy Sentes said she was sensitive to the speeding problem in schools zones, but agreed with Picton that too many signs would just be ignored by drivers.
“I appreciate the concern, but I don’t think this is a resolution,” said Sentes.
Coun. Helena Konanz was also concerned about what would happen when people got tired of the plastic signs or they were blown down in the wind.
“I just think it will be clutter and landfill. It is not good to add to the plastic heap in our landfill,” said Konanz.
The final vote was 5-2 against purchasing the signs.