Mapleton considers lower speed limits and new traffic calming measures

·2 min read

Mapleton councillors will discuss capping speed limits around schools and parks across the township at 30 km/h in urban areas and 60 km/h in rural areas when they meet next.

Mayor Gregg Davidson made the motion at Tuesday’s meeting where council also asked staff to develop a traffic calming policy in response to safety concerns in some neighbourhoods.

Common traffic calming measures include speed humps, raised crosswalks and bumped-out curbs.

Coun. Paul Douglas initially asked staff to look into options to slow down vehicles on River Run Road and Andrews Drive West in Drayton.

While there wasn’t a lot of traffic on the streets, Douglas said the roads' openness and gentle curves allow drivers to “get up a lot of speed.” Combined with the area’s popularity with kids on skateboards and scooters, “it’s a bit like an accident waiting to happen,” Douglas said.

Coun. Dennis Craven agreed.

“The kids are playing on the road and we certainly don’t want them getting hit with a car or anything else,” Craven said.

Meanwhile, Davidson agreed the Drayton location was a problem area, but said other parts of the township had similar issues. In Alma, for example, people use Nesbitt Street “as a raceway at times,” he continued.

Davidson suggested the township create a traffic calming policy which would lay out criteria for where traffic calming measures can be installed when residents request them. Traffic calming policies are common in larger municipalities. Council agreed and staff will prepare the policy for approval at a future meeting.

As for speed limits, Davidson said he’s not sure 30 km/h in urban areas and 60 km/h in rural areas are the right numbers when it comes to how fast drivers should be able to go around parks and schools. But he does want to see some uniformity across the township.

Right now, some school zones have speed limits of 40 km/h or 50 km/h in town, while in rural areas, speed limits near some schools are 80 km/h, he said.

“So my motion is basically to put it out there and let’s have a conversation,” he said in a phone interview, adding that he does know the chance of a pedestrian surviving being struck by a vehicle is far greater at 30 km/h than it is at 40 km/h and up.

“And that's why we have to look at these options and say, 'Okay, well what is best for the safety of our community and the safety of the pedestrians around our parks and schools,'” Davidson said.

His motion on speed limits is set to be discussed at the next regular council meeting on Aug. 10.

Alison Sandstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com

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