GUELPH/ERAMOSA - Township of Guelph/Eramosa Ward 4 councillor, Mark Bouwmeester, wants to lower speed limits on residential roads as a pilot project.
At council on Monday, Bouwmeester wants council to discuss his notice of motion from the May 2 council meeting. Ultimately, he's seeking to reduce the speed limit from 50 km/h to 40 km/h on residential roads along the entire length of MacLennan and Dunbar streets in Rockwood.
"The notice references Dunbar and MacLennan streets in Rockwood as they are actually one continuous street on both sides of Highway 7," explained Bouwmeester in an email.
"The fact that you can drive at the same rate of speed on the highway as you can on a residential subdivision street while travelling to an elementary school – is just crazy to me. The Highway Traffic Act gives municipalities the opportunity to set speed limits and I feel it's our responsibility to take a good look at this. What better way than with a pilot project to test this out? Speeding complaints are at the top of the list for many municipalities and that is no different here in Rockwood."
Bouwmeester further noted if the pilot project on the mentioned streets is successful in actually lowering the prevailing rate of speed, it may make sense to look at the speed limit in other areas as well, particularly in south Rockwood.
In November 2021, township staff submitted to council a public works report called "traffic calming review" which indicates speeding in some areas with a speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour.
Roads such as Whitelaw Road south of Wellington Road 124, Marden Road, Indian Trail, Second Line East, Crowsfoot Road and Fourth Line saw drivers driving more than 60 kilometres per hour in a 50 zone.
Bouwmeester mentioned that since reading the report and noticed the speed many drivers take on in a 50 zone, he questioned whether or not 50 km/h is the appropriate speed for the subdivision streets in south Rockwood.
Aside from the traffic calming review, council has also incorporated three to four LED radar signs into the 2022 budget, and consolidated some old traffic bylaws.
"At the end of the day, lowering the speed limit in certain areas is just one tool we can use. We should also be exploring automated speed enforcement devices like cameras in school zones as well as installing a lot more LED digital speed radar signs," he said.
"I also spoke with Inspector Paul Richardson about this and he informed that the OPP will enforce whatever speed a municipality agrees to set. Typically, the OPP only does speed enforcement within subdivisions very strategically, however, and I don't believe that will change even if the speed limit is lowered."
When asked about the next steps after the meeting on Monday, Bouwmeester noted that if passed, township's public works will start making arrangements for signage, the applicable schedule of the speed bylaw will be updated, and a schedule will be made for tracking actual speed implementations for the pilot period.
Bouwmeester hopes the pilot project will be implemented by early summer of this year.