Guelph/Eramosa councillors are looking for ways to slow down traffic in the township’s residential neighbourhoods, but what to do about the issue is still up in the air.
At Wednesday’s committee of the whole meeting, council discussed a motion from Coun. Mark Bouwmeester who asked staff to both investigate reducing speed limits in subdivisions and also bring forward a report on the potential further use of traffic calming measures like LED speed signs, speed humps, delineator posts.
Boumeester said there were some residential streets in the municipality where driving the posted 50 km/hr speed limit was “wildly unsafe,” and other areas where he felt drivers weren’t provided enough notice that they were entering neighbourhoods with homes and schools.
He said his motion was broad because “while at the heart of the matter is speed — it seems to be the number one traffic related complaint we all get — there may be more than one way to skin a cat.” He referenced traffic calming measures like LED speed signs, speed humps and "children at play" signage as examples.
Boumeester's council colleagues agreed speeding was a concern, but were unsure of what the solution was, aside from increased police enforcement — something the municipality doesn’t have direct control over.
“You can’t legislate against stupidity,” Coun. Bruce Dickieson said. “I mean if people want to drive fast, they’re going to drive fast.”
Meanwhile director of public works Harry Niemi said in anticipation of Wednesday’s discussion, he’d started to look at Rockwood streets where speeding might be a particular concern, like Sammon Drive, Jolliffe Avenue, Christie Street and Dunbar Street. The OPP has also deployed speed monitoring on Sammon and Joliffe, said Niemi.
“Speeding, I don’t believe is a huge issue, it’s a perception issue more than anything,” Niemi said.
“I’ve got numbers in front of me that pretty much over 90 per cent of traffic is coming in below 50, maybe if we dropped it to 40 it will change," he said. "Will it go to 40? I don’t know.”
Mayor Chris White suggested instead of preparing an entire policy or undertaking a large study, Niemi first bring council a “roadmap” to guide future township work on speeding.
“I think for the majority of the roads, beyond those outlying speeders, the system works pretty well. But we do have a couple of focal points,” he said, adding speeding issues would continue to be a concern as the township grew.
Niemi's report is expected at a council meeting later this fall.