Photos and Data Visualization by Alex Brockman. Originally appeared Sept. 15 at cbc.ca/windsor
Matthew Romain regularly hears the screaming tires just outside his south Windsor home as drivers slam their brakes, often narrowly avoiding dangerous collisions.
He blames speeding drivers along Dougall Avenue near Medina Street West for the daily chaos just metres from his front door.
Romain lives in front of the most ticketed intersection in Windsor, where, over the past five years, Windsor police handed out on average about one speeding ticket a day.
Those numbers add up for Romain.
“Often you can hear a car just miss slamming into the other guy,” he said. “You just shrug your shoulders and wait for that awful sound of the crash. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Check out the map below to see the top 20 most ticketed intersections and addresses in Windsor in 2015.
More than 2,200 drivers between 2010-2015 sped through the area and its 50 km/h speed limit, according to a CBC News analysis of the 33,560 speeding tickets issued by Windsor police officers during that span.
With a seven-year-old child at home, Romain fears the a horrific accident could eventually involve one of the kids playing ball in the yard. That’s why he’s building a garden and hill in his front yard, creating a wall to protect against heavy foot drivers.
“You have kids running around, even though they’re going to stop, they’re not going to run into the road — what happens if they don’t? What if a ball goes into the road,” he said
‘Everybody speeds on it’
Long-term Windsorites and neighbours aren’t alarmed to hear about the frequency of ticketed drivers. Residents in the area have seen traffic patrol cars lurking near the intersection for decades.
Walter Martin spent 29 years as a Windsor police officer. Seven of those were in the traffic enforcement. Now he’s a licensed paralegal defending drivers who get speeding tickets.
“I’ve seen tickets well over double the speed limit there,” Martin said, “You didn’t sit for very long before you [gave] out your next ticket. It’s non-stop. You could sit there all day and write speeding tickets and seat belt tickets.”
“If you wanted to give out tickets, that’s where you went,” Martin said. “It’s a wide-open stretch of road. There’s a long distance between any sort of traffic calming measures.”
The intersection of Dougall and Medina is just north of Cabana Road. Drivers heading off Highway 401 are transitioning from a highway to a residential neighbourhood within a few kilometres.
“Everybody speeds on it,” Martin said. “People on Dougall Parkway think that’s still part of the 401 and they’ll still do their 100 km/h plus.”
In 2015 alone, 466 drivers were caught at that intersection, equating to 10 per cent of all tickets issued city wide, according to the data obtained through an access to information request.
On an average day, police catch about three drivers at Dougall and Medina. That figure, though, can be much higher on any given day. Police nabbed more than one driver per hour at the intersection on Dec. 11, 2014, racking up 26 infractions for the day.
Overall though, tickets across the city are on the decline. In the past five years, the total number of tickets handed out across the city dropped from 8,018 in 2010 to 4,231 in 2015.
Windsor police Const. Andrew Drouillard attributes these numbers to increased enforcement and a focus on ticketing drivers using mobile devices. He said Windsor police targets particular areas based on traffic volumes, identified patterns and complaints from the public.
“I don’t think people would be surprised [about Dougall and Medina]. We target the main arteries into the city and this is one of them,” Drouillard said. “People are coming and going into the city for work. We like to target the main arteries to make sure the roads are safe for everybody.”
He pointed to Huron Church Road, E.C Row Expressway and Riverside Drive as other examples where police set up “directed enforcement” areas — commonly known as speed traps.
Police regularly hear complaints from drivers about coming off Highway 401 at about 100 km/h and having to quickly slow to 50 km/h at Dougall and Medina.
“There’s plenty of signage on the way in [from the 401] reminding people to slow it down. By the time they get here I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say they’ve seen those signs and should be slowing down.”