STOP with the stop signs

Shari Reinhart
Manuscript consultant | Ghostwriter | Writing partner
Children And Families

Sep 07,2017

You might think this is such a mundane topic but hear me out.

The back story:

I have lived on the same street for more than 27 years. It’s a modest 4-bedroom cottage on a fairly well-traversed suburban street off the island of Montreal in a community reputed to be ideal for raising young children. Just to illustrate how ideal… there are 3 elementary schools within a 3/4-mile radius of my house. The community centre boosts an expansive library and hockey teams that win tournaments like nobody’s business, crowding the glass shelves in the main hallway with trophies. There’s welcome wagon, neighbourhood watch and security tours. In the 27 years that we’ve been here I have seen my neighbours through every life cycle event.

 

The issue:

Stops signs. On every single corner. And even on mere bends in the road. And speed bumps that look and feel like small mountains. If you miss them, your car’s suspension and the neck that holds your head up are at risk.

 

I get it:

My kids were little too. They played hockey in the street. I stood vigil, never taking my eyes off them and the street they made happy memories on. Stop signs are meant to keep us safe and they make great sense … with most placements. It makes sense that a stop was right at our corner because it was placed in front of an elementary school and a synagogue – high traffic areas. But ultimately, my 3 ½ foot children playing in the street were my responsibility.

 

The case for a not-so-smart stop sign placement:

My street has a bend in the road and on the bend, where there is no possibility for cars to cross or turn in front, there’s a bloody stop sign! Why? Certainly not for vehicular traffic. It’s there because the family who owns the house on the bend complained. They petitioned for a stop sign to slow down traffic. Seriously? The turn can’t be taken at more than 25 Km and there’s no way two cars can hit unless the owner of the house pulls out of her driveway and hits one herself.

 

The point:

Using stop signs as traffic calming devices on a street where there are only local drivers, no commercial vehicles and where it’s quite impossible to speed is a surefire way to entice people to drive through it. I’ve been oblivious to the stop for almost 3 decades, relying on myself to slow at the bend, look for children playing and whatever else might be in the way while I slow. We have to slow down anyways because just a few yards ahead stands another stop sign.

Apparently, I’m not the only one ignoring this one! Our new neighbors had the cop stake it out. In a mere two hours the cop ticketed 18 of us.

I was one of them.

Good way to make friends with the neighbours, ay?

 

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