Lawn signs are posted up and down Ninth Street to remind people to slow down.

Dean Pratico’s death prompts call to slow down

Dean Pratico's death after allegedly confronting a speeder in a school zone has prompted a call for people to slow down.

Dean Pratico was known for chasing down and yelling at people speeding through the school zone on Ninth Street, but he wasn’t alone amongst his neighbours.

“I’ve walked in front of cars more times than I can tell you because people are speeding. All of us do it,” said Sandra Davis. “There’s a few of us that are rabid and Dean was one.”

Davis, who lived near Pratico on Ninth Street, said there are frequent issues with people speeding through the school zone along their road. The street runs alongside Queen Elizabeth Park, a park that is very popular with families, and there are two schools nearby.

“When people speed down this street, they tend to not go 40 or 50, they tend to go 70 or 80,” said Davis. “Those people in this neighbourhood with kids, I’ve seen so many close calls. The little ones in the playground, they come screaming out on to the road without even looking. It was a matter of time before someone got hit, just not in this matter.”

Ninth Street is a school zone with a posted speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour. There are signs on Ninth east of Vernon Avenue and on Mackenzie Avenue heading towards the schools. There are more lawn signs placed along the street reminding people there are kids playing and to slow down.

Davis said she has raised the matter with the City of Revelstoke and Mayor David Raven in the past. She said she was told that when the new schools were being proposed, traffic calming measures were being planned for Ninth.

Mike Thomas, the city’s director of engineering and development, said he hasn’t seen any evidence of plans for traffic calming on Ninth Street, nor was it an issue that had come across his desk.

“I do have a meeting coming up with the school district to discuss pedestrian and children safety along that corridor, and certainly traffic calming is one of the things we’ll be talking about, especially the intersection for Begbie View Elementary,” he told the Times Review. “In terms of formalized traffic calming, the city doesn’t have a formalized policy at this stage.”

Mike Hooker, the superintendent of the Revelstoke School District, said he hadn’t heard any concerns about speeding on Ninth Street. He said concerns were more around the movement of children to and from the schools.

Davis said the biggest problem was from people driving to and from the arena. She has accosted hockey moms, she said. “It’s harder to get adults to slow down.”

Thomas said traffic calming measures like chicanes or speed bumps could be put in place, but the pros and cons would have to be looked at. While they can help slow people down, they also present problems, such as noise and snow clearing issues.

“There’s things that we can do, it’s just whether they’re the right things to do, it’s what we need to work out,” said Thomas. “We don’t want to limit access, we just want to control the speed.”

 

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