WINCHESTER — Motorists driving into downtown Winchester are being reminded of their speed in real time, after a technological hiccup briefly delayed the debut a new speed-warning sign acquired by the Township of North Dundas at a cost of $7,500.
Affixed to a utility pole at the school crossing on Main St. W., the illuminated digital readout prominently displays a vehicle’s velocity to each eastbound driver. It flashes excitedly and warns motorists to “slow down” if they exceed the legally posted limit of 50 km/h.
The unit went up on Tuesday but was quickly turned off when officials noticed the device was showing miles, not kilometres, per hour to passing motorists. A driver would have had to travel 80 km/h before the device registered “50” in that case.
North Dundas Director of Transportation Dan Belleau told Nation Valley News the sign displayed the imperial measurement for “five minutes” before being deactivated on Nov. 14.
At that evening’s council meeting, Belleau reported the sign would be fully operational — in metric mode — the following day.
The setting is controlled on his smart phone, where an app connected to the IP-enabled sign also collects data on vehicle speeds and sizes.
The sign can be moved to different locations as needed, according to Councillor Tony Fraser, who reported that council was sold on the model by a vendor with a display at an Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference last year. But the general idea cropped up as a result of seeing a similar unit in action in the City of Ottawa community of Vernon, on North Dundas’s doorstep.
Fraser suggested more of the signs will be acquired in future — possibly a cheaper, solar-powered type. They’re an effective way of getting drivers to ease up when approaching villages and areas with lower speed limits, according to the councillor. “It flashes quite a bit, you notice it, it catches your attention,” said Fraser. “I always found it was an amazing thing to drive into Vernon, and see it, and being told to ‘slow down.'”
“It’s always been in the back of my mind that we need some of this stuff out here.”
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