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Speed spy data unlikely to change township speed recommendation

by Mike Robinson

ABERFOYLE - Even if new “Speed Spy” data was available from the Wellington County OPP detachment, chances are it would not change a Puslinch staff recommendation to not reduce speed limits on Concession 4 between Wellington Road 35 (Downey) and Sideroad 20.

The current limit is 80km/h and a group of local residents would like it dropped to 60km/h.

On Dec. 16, councillor Matthew Bulmer asked for a minor clarification of his request for information from the Dec. 2 roads department staff report regarding speed limit changes on Concession 4.

Bulmer said the minutes suggested the question was whether the Speed Spy (a traffic data collection and analyzing tool) information would change the TAC (Transportation Association of Canada) calculations regarding the proper speed.

He said his actual question was if the Speed Spy data was gathered on different days - “would it have changed the TAC results?”

Later that evening, resident David Pady also spoke to council regarding a speed limit reduction request for that section of road from a group of local residents.

He explained there are 14 residences in the area, most along the east side of the road. The road is hilly and visibility isn’t great, Pady said, adding  road shoulders in the area are narrow. At the same time, Pady said there are a lot of walkers and bikers in the area.

During his 25 years living in the area, he said traffic has increased considerably.

While there are a lot of times traffic is fine, Pady said “There are certain times when cars are travelling 90 to 100km/h on that road ... and it is very narrow.”

He said there are traffic concerns when the county transfer station is open.

Pady currently serves as chair of the Donkey Sanctuary and noted that on days it is open there are other concerns. He said when the sanctuary first opened, there may have been 50 people attend on two days per week.

“Now it can be over 500 ... at the big open house there can be up to 3,000 people,” Pady  said. He added first time visitors sometime miss the signage and then do a U-turn.

Pady said the Donkey Sanctuary is working to improve its own signs - and possibly install signs further east and west.

He asked how the Hanlon Expressway can have an 80km/h speed limit with its wide shoulders and great visibility and Concession 4 has the same speed limit.

“It doesn’t really make sense to us.” He added that in neighbouring Flamborough, the municipality has managed to have similar roads reduced to 60km/h.

“We would like council to consider the option of changing the speed limit,”said Pady.

He noted a report to council that suggested the average speed was 77km/h is indicative of visibility and other issues along that stretch of road.

“Obviously the speeds travelled on the county roads and the Hanlon are much higher,” he said.

Bulmer shared many of Pady’s concerns. He noted the original staff report recommended council not change the speed limits.

Bulmer also wondered whether the Speed Spy results accurately reflects the days of concern to local residents.

Mayor Dennis Lever clarified the Speed Spy tool is operated by the OPP in a discreet manner and is used to determine if more enforcement is required for existing speed limits.

The TAC guidelines look at the physical characteristics of the road.

Councillor Ken Roth stated the township adopted the TAC system to determine whether or not to decrease or increase road speed limits.

“Everyone seems to want the speed limits dropped ... until they get caught speeding,” Roth said.

He added use of the TAC guidelines allows the township to be fair ... “and if the limit needs to be dropped, it needs to be dropped ... I’m not for changing the speed limits unless it is recommended by the TAC guidelines.”

Councillor Wayne Stokley said he frequently cycles on Concession 4. He said he also believes in using TAC as a guideline but also in taking other factors into account ... such as the use of the road.

Stokley noted the TAC guidelines actually recommend a speed limit of 70km/h, but the township does not have that gap - speed limits would be either 60 or 80km/h.

“I’d personally like to see it dropped to 60km/h,” he said.

Lever said council previously agreed to use TAC guidelines to set speed limits. He added TAC examines the physical parameters of the road such as the number of driveways, the hills and visibility lines to determine the speed.

The Speed Spy is used to determine if the speed limit needs to be enforced, Lever said.

CAO Karen Landry noted director of public works Don Creed indicated revised Speed Spy information  would not likely change his report because that information is not used in TAC calculations.

Lever then asked if using the TAC guidelines on a shorter length of road would alter the speed limit calculations.

The matter was deferred pending receipt of further information from staff.

January 1, 2016

 
 

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