Sandy Casselman 
Villager Staff

EMBRUN – In addition to approving the creation of a special reserve focused on financing Pedestrian Safety Plan projects, the township of Russell’s politicians also approved a transfer of roughly $96,600 in Federal Gas Tax funding into this new reserve.

The decision was made during council’s final meeting last month. Executive director of Infrastructure services Jonathan Bourgon provided council members with a June 21 report outlining what needs to be done and the multi-step, multi-year plan to accomplish these goals.

“We really tried to focus on the main areas where we saw the most complaints,” Bourgon said. “The action plan is to start focusing on those main roads.”

Bourgon’s report included a list of existing measures, recently approved measures, as well as the locations with the most complaints. These locations included Central Park Boulevard (near the storm pond), Lucerne Drive (near the storm pond), St. Therese Street, Centenaire Street, Church Street, Notre-Dame Street, and King Street.

Council members suggested additional areas where pedestrian safety might be an issue, including roads with excessive speed complaints. Radar tracking, speed bumps, Community Safety Zone signage, as well as painting the speed limit in large letters directly on the road were all discussed.

“What are the consequences? What are the actions that will come out of the information?” Coun. Jamie Laurin asked.

Mayor Pierre Leroux said the information is passed along to the police, giving them a better understanding of when most speeding takes place. This allows the OPP to better pinpoint where and when to station officers.

“If someone’s a stupid driver, they’re a stupid driver,” Leroux said. “We need the OPP to make sure they’re getting the message, but we have to do what we can to try to improve the situation.”

Laurin moved to amend the recommendation to include a crossing in Russell Trails. The amendment, along with the recommendation, was unanimously approved.

With the creation of this reserve and the approval of the plan, chief administrative officer Jean Leduc said council members would have the opportunity to “promote items for discussion” every year at budget time. Russell currently has a Speed Reduction Policy, Traffic Calming Policy, a Pedestrian Crossing Analysis, a Streetscape Masterplan, as well as fixed speed radar signs and mobile signs, as part of its Pedestrian Safety Plan.