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TERRA NOVA, N.L. — It’s been more than a year since Terra Nova National Parks opened up 13 passing lanes in Central Newfoundland. And for Dave Weinheber, of Charlottetown, N.L., a small community within the park’s boundaries, it’s been a godsend.
Weinheber travels through the park near daily for work in Eastport, some 45 kilometres west. Previously, he found, the numerous hills created a backlog of traffic.
And it often made for some creative driving in the area, as he noticed a tendency for travellers to pass vehicles in inappropriate areas.
While he says the passing lanes have helped mitigate traffic flow, there are still those who pass in non-designated areas.
“There is an RCMP presence keeping things in check,” he said. “There are speeding issues everywhere, with passing lanes or without, it’s not just an issue in the park.”
Since the passing lanes officially opened in September 2017, there appears to have been a decline in moving violations.
"There are speeding issues everywhere, with passing lanes or without, it’s not just an issue in the park.” — Dave Weinheber, Charlottetown, N.L.
In 2018, from January to September, there were approximately 55 tickets issued for speeding within the park boundaries, according to the Glovertown RCMP detachment.
While the RCMP couldn’t provide details for the same time frame prior to the passing lanes opening, in 2017, from April to September, there were 63 speeding tickets issued.
Complaints have been down as well. There were 22 formal traffic related complaints from January to September in 2018. Within the same period of time last year, there were 30 complaints.
However, Sgt. Adam Gardner with the Glovertown RCMP isn’t convinced the numbers show any relevance to the passing lanes.
“With different officers in the detachment between the two years this will create some type of margin for error,” he said. “Some officers write more tickets than others, some may not have the radar course (ie: new officers), etc.”
The only way to get a true sense of the how effective the passing lanes are, he said, would have been a controlled study and that window is now gone.
“What you would need to do was a controlled study before and after the lanes were installed to show the actual number of speeders,” Gardner said. “Just because there aren't any tickets written today doesn't mean nobody is speeding out there, we simply may not have an officer in that area today.”