Norwich Township uses its first radar speed sign to help authorities crack down on speeding

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Norwich Township started using a new radar speed sign after hearing from residents that speeding remains a key issue in many areas of the municipality.

The radar speed sign – a first for Norwich Township – was put into action in several spots around the township over the past few months.

“We put it up for seven days, and we collect the data, and we send that to the OPP, and that lets them know what time of day they need to police certain roads,” said John Scholten, chairman of the police services board and a Norwich Township councillor.

“It tells us whether speeding is a problem on certain roads. We get complaints form citizens that say ‘everybody is speeding on this road’ and by putting that sign up, we know whether it is or isn’t (a problem),” he added.

So far the sign has been deployed on Cornell Road, County Road 13, and Dover Street in Otterville, Scholten said. It monitors the speed of each vehicle, what time it passed the sign, and the number of vehicles that go by each day.

It was complaints about speeding that encouraged the township to purchase the radar sign in the first place.

“We had three town hall meetings last year, in Otterville, Norwich and Oxford Centre, and one of the things that kept coming at us was speeding,” Scholten said.

“When we as councillors campaigned in 2014, we were going house to house and visiting people, and that was a complaint that continually came forward.”

There was also good feedback from nearby municipalities, like Tillsonburg and Woodstock, where the radar signs are in use.

“They were very happy with what the signs are doing, and they’re purchasing more signs as they go, because of the benefits,” Scholten said.

Norwich Township’s new sign is now packed away for the winter months, he said, because snow can interfere with the radar, leading to inaccurate speed readings.

But overall, it’s an easy technology to use.

“It’s fed by solar energy, and it’s very portable, and we have a software package where we can download the data from the sign onto a laptop,” Scholten said.

“Basically it has a built-in radar, very similar to what the police use…it’s reading the vehicle (speed) as it comes down the street.”

But the sign can also be used to warn drivers when they’re trucking along a little too quickly.

“We can switch it to flashing and then whoever drives past it, it shows their speed, and that’s a preventative aspect of the sign,” Sholten said.

“When we have an issue, say we want to put it up in Springford or Otterville or Norwich, then it’ll flash and it will automatically say to people ‘hey, slow down.’”