August 20, 2001
To: Shana Burrows, Clerks Office
Councillors and Mayor Bell
Cc: Donna Howes, Assistant Manager Transportation
Ken Krueger, Transportation Department
Re: Stay of execution for Riverside Speed Hump Installation
On July 16th, DNV Council approved a recommendation by the District Transportation Department to install four speed humps on Riverside Drive. Shortly afterwards, the Transportation Department sent a memo to affected residents informing that installation is imminent. We request that installation work be postponed until residents that oppose the plan have an opportunity to address major flaws with the process that was used to obtain council's approval and the integrity of the report that was presented to council which supported the recommendation.
The major problem with the process was that residents were not given an opportunity to comment on the report before it was presented to council. While residents were surveyed and participated in two public meetings, we were not informed that the department had made a final recommendation and completed a report and that the recommendation was to be presented to council for approval. Although it was announced in the North Shore News that the matter was going to be heard by council, residents who participated in the public meetings should have been given due notice, especially given that many residents were on vacation when the matter was brought to council.
The department report that council based its decision on was also misleading. At first glance, there appears to sufficient data in the 22 page report to support implementation of the plan. However, buried on Page 6 of Attachment 4 is a one sentence discussion of the final public survey measuring resident's level of support for the proposed plan. In that survey, the public was given three choices: 1) do you support the plan as presented, 2) do you support the plan with additions or 3) do you not support the plan.
The report stated that "54.3 % of respondents support the plan as proposed or with minor revisions. Since the proposed plan that council approved does not appear to include any additions, it stands to reason that less than 50% of the affected residents support the plan.
Another major problem involves the closed, special interest group that was advising the Transportation Department. Section 3 of Attachment 4 discusses a letter that was submitted to the Traffic Department expressing concern that the Group Advising council did not reflect broad spectrum of the community and that the group was closed to members with opposing views. The report to council responded by stating that "People in the first work session were told they could participate in the Group by contacting the District, and this was also stated in the correspondence as part of the survey". We have no recollection of the invitation to participate. We have also reviewed correspondence of the survey and do not see any invitation to participate. In addition, the only member of the public that spoke in favor of the plan at council is also mentioned by name in the transportation departments report as hosting an Advisory Committee meeting.
Another flaw in the process was information that was presented to residents as a basis for survey feedback did not match data that was presented in the final report. In an update mailed to residents on May 31st, the Transportation Planning Department attempted to pacify resistance to speed humps by stating that the planned humps would not require a reduction in speed below the posted 50km/h limit ("Benefits: Speed 45 to 50 km/h when spaced every 125m"). However, in the final transportation report (Attachment 4, Page 8), the traffic calming expert states that the "Speed humps will force people to slow their vehicles to about 40-45km/hr." We believe that public support for the plan would be even less if residents were aware that speeds will be reduced to 40km/hr. The transportation committee, in their own report to council, showed that there is little support in the community for a 40 km/hr limit – reducing the limit has been tried once and reversed.
We ask for a stay in installation of the speed humps until we can better understand the report. We have requested the Transportation Department provide complete results of the final survey. We would like to know what % of respondents actually supported the plan exactly as stated and what % supported the plan with additions and what those additions are. We have also asked the Transportation Department to provide information to support the claim that the public was invited to attend the Advisory Group. After evaluation of requested data, we may request that we be given an opportunity to address council at the next meeting on September 4th prior to installation of the humps.
While we clearly do not support the 'approved' speed hump plan as individuals, we recognize that we are part of a larger community and sometimes need to compromise. However, we also be believe in fairness and due process and feel that the public process was tailored to achieve a predetermined outcome strongly promoted by a closed group. Given that there appears to be insufficient broad support for that outcome, it also appears that the plan was railroaded through council.
Willy Schuurman + 50 residents