The city is attempting to slow down street racing.
Traffic-calming measures are coming to Jackson Road in the Duke Point industrial area, where street racing has been a concern and disturbed residents as far away as Gabriola Island.
“We’ve worked with the RCMP. They’ve conducted an ongoing enforcement campaign,” said Jamie Rose, city manager of transportation. “They’ve been pretty aggressive with it, but we’re not seeming to get ahead on the issues right now.”
At Monday’s City of Nanaimo committee of the whole meeting, Rose gave a presentation on the planned traffic-calming measures, “which we believe will quite significantly impact the street racing and stunt driving that’s going on right now.”
Spaced out along the length of Jackson Road, there will be ‘chokers,’ ‘splitters’ and rumble strips. Chokers narrow the road, splitters add a median and rumble strips discourage motorists from driving outside their prescribed lanes.
“I do think there’s a lot of police resources spent out there and time that could be spent more efficiently than going after [street racers], so I would totally support this,” said Coun. Sheryl Armstrong.
Coun. Jim Kipp said he’s heard “a number of complaints” about street racing noise, including from Gabriola residents.
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said street racing has been a problem in the area for 20 years. He said “the city took the lead on this and we support the initiative,” as street racing has caused challenges for law enforcement.
“We’re diligently trying to deal with this issue,” O’Brien said. “The problem is, where it’s located, anytime we showed up, the kids would have spotters and then they would move off.”
He said police can issue tickets for speeding or “stunting” and sometimes vehicle inspections in the area reveal other Motor Vehicle Act infractions, but said “it’s very difficult to get the street racing [charge] itself under the definition, because we don’t have the eyes [there].”
Rose said the $25,000 cost of the Jackson Road project is already factored into the city’s financial plan.
Coun. Jerry Hong suggested that the $25,000 would be better spent on sidewalks elsewhere in the city or for road safety along Boxwood Road. Bill Sims, the city’s director of engineering and public works, replied that Boxwood traffic calming measures have already been presented to the public works and engineering committee.