‘Please slow down‘ safety campaign could be more effective without bylaw say some

A new City of Winnipeg campaign to slow down drivers and keep kids safe is rolling out across the city, but some say it could be more effective if a bylaw wasn’t getting in the way.

The campaign involves a sign with the words ‘please slow down‘ over an image of children playing.

People can request a sign for their lawn directly from their local city councillor’s office.

Walking around Winnipeg can be nerve-wracking for mom Akiko Mayama.

When her 2-year-old Charlie is out of his stroller, he loves running around.

"To get this sign for slowing down, reminding all the cars to slow down is really, really great,” she said Tuesday while out in West Broadway.

Dad Scott Forbes put up a sign on his lawn in Wolseley.

He said it‘s important for motorists to remember there are children in the neighbourhood.

Forbes said there are dozens of kids on his block and speed matters.

"We keep our eyes open when we are outside, but things can happen so quickly. We just want people to stay aware,” he said.

The campaign was born thanks in part to Cy-Thea Sand, who watches vehicles go by from her porch on Raglan Road in Wolseley.

Concerned about kids and pets in the area, she came across a similar campaign in Toronto and proposed the idea to her city councillor, Cindy Gilroy.

Gilroy took Sand’s idea to the Winnipeg Committee for Safety and the campaign was approved as a pilot project.

While Sand is happy to see the signs become reality, she is also disappointed to learn about a city bylaw preventing signs from being placed on boulevards.

"Drivers can‘t see them because they are back from the street,” said Sand, adding that drivers travel too quickly to scan yards for signs.

The city said the bylaw is in place for the safety of both drivers, who could become distracted, and people putting the signs on the streets.

It also said there are no exceptions to the bylaw.

For a bylaw to be changed, a motion by council would be required.

Gilroy said even though some would like the signs closer to the road, they could stop a driver from seeing a child and believes they‘ll still have a positive impact.

"It’s a friendly reminder. You’re picking up your kids, or you‘re heading to work and maybe you‘re heading to work and a couple of minutes late. You‘re not one of those people driving fast to be dangerous. You‘re just driving a little bit fast on the streets," said Gilroy.

She said 525 signs were printed at a cost of $3,000.

Each councillor has 35 signs to hand out.

Gilroy said should they run out, it will be up to each councillor to decide if money from their own ward budget should be used to make more.