The small white cross and a tombstone on the road catches the eyes of drivers on Robert Street. The traffic even slows down for a moment.
Jeff Johnson painted the tombstone with RIP on the road after his kitten, Gloria, was hit by a car late Saturday. While he’s sad his pet was killed, Johnson is worried with so many cars using the street because Petrolia Line is closed, a child could be next. (EDITORS NOTE: Early Wednesday, Town of Petrolia works crews were removing the monument described.)
Johnson says during the day, cars stream down the street, many travelling above the speed limit. And at night, Johnson says the speed increases.
With an entrance to the town’s tennis courts coming off Robert Street, Johnson is worried someone will get hurt. “If a child gets hit it will be far worse than one of our pets,” he says.
Johnson’s Robert Street neighbours, Shawn Campbell and Jennifer Robinson are also worried about their four kids. Their home sits just a few feet from Robert Street and they’ve seen the cars backed up along the road and flying down the street at night.
Campbell, a neighbour and their dogs were just about hit by a truck as they talked at the side of the road. Campbell chased the truck down and told the driver he had to slow down.
“I understand there is construction,” says Campbell as he sits on his front porch, “but I’d like to see people slow down; there are a lot of kids on this street. A neighbour’s cat was killed…that’s not nice when that happens, but it happens…but someday, it’s going to be a kid.”
Robinson would like to see a digital speed sign placed on the road to show drivers how fast they’re going. And she says the data could be used to set up speed traps.
Johnson raised his concern about the traffic with the town at its weekly question and answer period one Tuesday but wasn’t satisfied. When the kitten was killed, Johnson called the OPP to file an incident report.
While the police were on the street, Johnson says, several neighbours also voiced their concern. Johnson is hoping for a police presence on the street to calm the traffic down.
And he says the town “should have planned this better…(making) alternate routes for traffic” during the construction.
Town Chief Administrative Officer Manny Baron says the town did plan a detour route, south of Petrolia Line from Maude to Dufferin Ave to Greenfield Street, which most drivers should be using.
The CAO adds there are other problems associated with adding stop signs or lowering the speed limit further. “In the eyes of the insurance company and governments, we’ve actioned that; then we’re liable.”
He adds reducing the posted speed limit likely wouldn’t help since Robert Street is already a 40 km per hour zone.
The town has asked the OPP to monitor traffic there on several occasions and has seen cruisers in the area.
So have the people on Robert Street. Robinson asked the OPP to come and monitor the speed and was told “we have too many things to do, we can’t control the speed” on Robert Street.
It’s frustrating for the couple who add now that Petrolia Line is closed in front of the post office and the grocery store, the problem “is only going to get worse.”