THUNDER BAY — Police are hoping to stem what they call a flood of traffic violations on a street in the County Fair area, after a multi-day enforcement blitz saw nearly 100 tickets handed out.
The Thunder Bay Police Service conducted the blitz this week on Masters Street, where they say motorists are routinely ignoring rules that prohibit turns onto and off of the street from Dawson Road at certain times of day.
Motorists are barred from turning right off of Dawson onto Masters between 7 and 9 a.m., and again from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Left turns from Masters onto Dawson are similarly forbidden during the same commuting hours.
Breaking that rule is considered a disobey sign offence under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, carrying a $110 ticket and two demerit points.
Const. Jeff Carlson, a city police traffic officer, said the rules exist largely to protect pedestrians on the otherwise quiet residential street during times of heavy traffic.
“This is a highly residential area — there are a lot of school bus stops, a lot of children, there's no sidewalks,” he said. “If there are people cycling or walking their dogs or walking with their children, they're on the side of the road.”
“It’s a huge safety issue. Any time you have a lot of vehicular traffic, there's always a higher risk of pedestrians getting hit.”
The route can be an appealing one for many drivers, however.
“If you're coming from maybe Dog Lake Road or out Dawson Road, it's a bit of a shortcut,” said Carlson. “There's no stop signs along this route ... So people are taking a little detour down Masters over to Valley [Street], maybe to avoid all the traffic lights here and the chaos at East Avenue and Strand Avenue, all the lights right in front of the [County Fair] mall.”
The enforcement blitz was launched after numerous complaints from those who live in the neighbourhood, Carlson said.
One resident who spoke with TBnewswatch said the “constant” high traffic volumes and speeding on the street are stressful for those who live there, adding she was happy to see the enforcement action.
By Friday morning, police had laid over 80 charges, primarily related to illegal right turns off of Dawson onto Masters.
Carlson said that captured only a portion of violators, however.
“We've had three officers and three cruisers, and we can't keep up to people ignoring the signs,” he said.
Given that volume of offences, Carlson said the force’s busy traffic department expects to return periodically to the street for further enforcement.