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Posted September 7, 2006 EST

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Speed Bumps Slowing Firefighters
Canada -

Speed bumps and other traffic-calming measures installed by the city are slowing down, and in some cases injuring firefighters on their way to emergencies, according to a city staff report.

A report from the city's transportation services outlines the long-term effects and risks of installing "unwarranted" traffic control and calming measures such as traffic lights, four-way stops, speed humps, raised medians and intersection narrowings.

While designed to reduce collisions, high speeds and aggressive driving, Councillor Doug Holyday, who requested the report, says some residents are too concerned with deterring traffic in their neighbourhoods, and don't realize the danger posed by speed humps.

"In terms of safety, I'm all for that," Mr. Holyday said last week. "But when these speed humps spread from street to street, they will choke off neighbourhoods from EMS."

Firefighters say each speed hump increases the travel time of a fire truck by up to 4.2%, based on a four-minute response.

The humps have also resulted in injury to firefighters and damage to their trucks.

"We've had strained necks, strained backs, a whole gamut of upper-body-strain injuries," said Bob Leek, district chief of emergency planning.

He said at least two firefighters are injured each year in Toronto from traversing speed humps.

Written by The Globe and Mail

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