New speed sign on Fleet Road in Hamsptead, partially obscured by a tree, with French only "New Signage" notice

New speed sign on Fleet Road in Hampstead, partially obscured by a tree, with French only “New Signage” notice

As if the congestion along Fleet Road in Hampstead and deliberately confusing No Left Turn signs weren’t enough the town has erected new speed signs effectively lowering the limit from 50 km/h to a mere 30 km/h.

Since 2011 the Town of Hampstead has thrown logic to the wind and rolled out an amateurish improvisation in traffic control measures essentially penalizing motorists who cut through the town between Cote Saint-Luc and Decarie.

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A series of nonsensical No Left Turn signs (see my prior blog postings on “Chelmstead” here) sprang up that lead to confusion and frustration to any motorist without advanced math skills or a mobile abacus. That was the left hook (or should I say No Left)?

Next police cars from Station 9 appeared, nabbing unsuspecting motorists, who dared the illegal left maneuver, diabolically calculated in 15 minute intervals.

In 2013, a Montreal municipal court judge threw out an infraction issued to Côte Saint-Luc resident Alissa Sklar, who was ticketed for turning left from eastbound Fleet at 8:05 a.m.

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The Suburban reported that Hampstead’s many eastbound Fleet left-turn prohibition signs have received mixed reviews, with some motorists saying they are confusing and the print on the signs specifying prohibition times is too small.

“I said to the judge, “I have a doctorate and I would like to think I’m at least reasonable and intelligent,’” Sklar told The Suburban. “I told him I drive on Fleet from time to time, and I was aware of how confusing these signs are. I had to get to a street in Hampstead north of Fleet, and I was kind of paralyzed by indecision.”

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“I showed the judge the other signs, which said ‘except.’ The judge went through it with me, and the whole time, the prosecutor for the city was laughing her head off. She obviously agreed the whole thing was ridiculous.”

Sklar said the judge examined each of the signs, and appeared to be “clearly puzzled.”

“The judge said ‘I don’t know what it means.’ He gave it to the prosecutor and she was laughing and said, ‘I don’t have a single thing to say about these signs. The only thing I should say is I should stay off Fleet Road myself.’”

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At the time, Mayor William Steinberg said “However, the left turn restrictions have been in effect for over two years and the result is much less traffic going through our residential streets north of Fleet.” “Before the restrictions, residents on many streets had a very hard time backing out of their driveways in the morning due to the volume of morning rush hour traffic. Councillor Harvey Shaffer gets credit for coming up with a solution that spread the pain and also reduced the overall volume of traffic turning left off of Fleet. “Long term, opening Cavendish is the best solution for reducing traffic on Fleet.”

I said it right here when these ridiculous signs went up five years ago. I would not pay such a fine. I’d also take it to court as these bizarre and confusing signs would never stand before a judge.

Next came an unprotected crosswalk, nothing short of a dangerous passage that I would never allow my child to use. Sure enough a serious accident causing injury was eventually reported on by the Suburban, CTV News and Global News.

Free Press, May 23. 2012

Free Press, May 23. 2012

Having run out of senseless pseudo-traffic calming measures the town has erected 30km/h signs on Fleet just yesterday, east of Queen Mary Road. Presumably, the rationale is due to Hampstead Park, abutting this section of the major thoroughfare. However, most of the length of the park adjacent to the road is home to a dog run which is entirely fenced in. The very small length along Fleet not fenced in is a long distance from the playing fields, playground and community centre.

Incidentally, Hampstead lawyer and language rights crusader Harold Staviss will have fun asking why the new sign notice posted by the bilingual town is in French only.

New signage erected Jan. 12, 2016, next to dog run on Fleet

New signage erected Jan. 12, 2016, next to dog run on Fleet

What’s worse, there is no 50km/h sign further east along Fleet Road. According to the Quebec Highway Code vehicles may not return to a higher speed unless an appropriate sign indicating the higher speed follows. As well, it will be interesting to find out if the town sought permission to change the speed on this major artery, as required by Minister of Transport regulations.

Get ready for the next police crackdown of mainly Cote Saint-Luc motorists for travelling 35km/h in a 30 zone when their not calculating if left turns are permitted presuming they’re not already stopped at an unprotected crosswalk!

Full disclosure: I genuinely like my neighbouring members of council and mayor from Hampstead. They are all affable individuals who, I’m sure, want the best for their town. But folks, please give us a break!

 

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