Volunteers help slow down Vancouver traffic with speed trailers

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Volunteering with the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Alliance could put you in line to use the sign to calm down speeders in your neighborhood.

The city of Vancouver on Monday kicked off the program where volunteers haul a trailer to a 25 mph speed limit neighborhood, let it sit for five days, until more volunteers haul it to another neighborhood.

Sitting in the same place for several days is what makes it work.

Ross Montgomery, the president of the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Alliance and the guy who really got the program going, says the sign brings the speed limit into focus, making people look at their speedometer when they otherwise might just go on tapping their foot to music on the car radio.

Volunteers have to go through a few hours of training to learn to load and use the sign, and a background and driving check, since they'll be driving a city owned truck.

Haily Heath is the city's volunteer coordinator. She says last year volunteers put in about 56,000 hours of work in various programs, adding up to more than a million dollars.

But she says there's something even more valuable.

"It allows people to be active and engaged, and when people get involved in the community, it makes for a better place to live and healthier people," said Heath.

Kathy and Paul Houge were the first volunteers to take the trailer out. They live on Southeast McGillivray, a street notorious for crashes and speeding.

A couple of years ago they made their own signs and hit the curb trying to get people to slow down. Now they've gone high-tech with the solar powered portable electronic monitor.

"I like high-tech better", said Kathy Houge. "I felt like maybe our signs were more distracting than helpful. This sign really slows people down."

If you want to volunteer, check out the city of Vancouver website for more information.