The Municipality of Grey Highlands is considering reducing speed limits in hamlets and villages to 40 km/hour, but first they want public feedback.
“This wouldn't just be for the sake of slowing down cars, but also to make the villages more walker and cyclist-friendly,” said Grey Highlands councillor and member of the Grey Highlands police board, Dane Nelson.
The speed reduction would impact municipal roads only, leaving out a number of the busy highways, which are under the control of Grey County and/or the Ministry of Transportation.
“If the municipality passes this speed of change, it would provide some motivation to the county to lower its speed limits on the county roads,” Nelson said. “We have seen a huge uptick in the number of stunt driving charges laid in our area of the province. With Highway 6, there have been over 200 stunt driving charges laid.”
Deputy Mayor Aakash Desai, who presented the motion, noted that it would be unlikely for the county to reduce speeds on area highways, if the municipal roads were not reduced first.
“It's harder for us to make a case for those [county] roads, if the other surrounding roads are not 40 km/h as well. It's an issue of uniformity,” said Desai.
Grey Highlands Mayor and Grey County Warden, Paul McQueen said a report on speed limits in hamlets and villages in Grey County is scheduled to be discussed at an upcoming county council meeting.
Currently, the municipality of Grey Highlands has 12 different bylaws related to speed limits. If the council decides to move forward with the change, a new bylaw would be drafted, which would consolidate the previous 12.
The change in speed would also require the municipality to install new signage, as required by the Ontario Traffic Manual 5.
Maximum speed ahead warning signage must be placed 100 to 250 metres upstream from where a posted reduced speed zone of 20 km/h or more exists. A maximum speed sign with the “begins” tab will also be required.
Cost of the new signage is estimated at $5,800, which would be funded through the 2021 budget.
Prior to considering drafting a new bylaw to reduce the speed limits, Grey Highlands council directed staff to provide more data on the incidents of speeding in the town of Eugenia.
For the report, traffic counters were installed on Inkerman Street, Pellisier Street and Canrobert Street in Eugenia over the long weekend in August. All three streets are posted with a 50 km/h speed limit.
On Inkerman Street, from July 28 to Aug. 5, there were 4,120 vehicles analyzed. The highest speed of 89 km/h with a total of 111 enforceable violations.
Canrobert Street was analyzed from July 31, 2020 to Aug. 6. with 1,595 vehicles. The highest speed observed was 76 km/h with a total of 12 enforceable violations.
On Pellisier Street, from July 31 to Aug. 6, with 591 vehicles analyzed, the highest rate of speed was 57 km/h with no enforceable violations.
According to a staff report by Herb Lemon, director of transportation and environmental services for Grey Highlands, the resulting data does not show a speeding problem.
“The perception is that there's a severe speeding issue, whereas the actual data shows that it's not to the same extent,” said Nelson.
With conflicting data in hand, Grey Highlands council is now turning to the public for input through an online survey.
Both residents and non-residents are being asked to provide their thoughts on why the speed limit should be reduced or stay the same.
Once public input has been collected, a report will be brought back to council for consideration at a future council meeting.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca