Measures including speed limit changes, new pedestrian crossings, automated speed enforcement cameras, and physical modifications designed to slow down traffic like curb extensions have been recommended for 15 problematic traffic corridors in Wellington County.
Consultants reviewed 16 corridors flagged for speeding concerns as part of the county’s Road Master Action Plan. Findings were presented at the most recent county road’s committee meeting, where the committee also approved speed management guidelines that will be used to respond to future speeding concerns on county roads.
The development of those guidelines has been controversial because of their potential to sometimes lead to recommendations to increase speed limits.
Staff made a number of changes to the proposed guidelines since council last discussed the matter. Revisions included stipulating local context and factors like traffic volume, vehicle type, and other road users, for example agricultural equipment and horses and buggies, also be taken into consideration along with technical analysis.
County engineer Don Kudo says the new guidelines allow the county and the OPP to apply a consistent approach to speeding complaints across Wellington County, which in turn will improve safety.
“Setting appropriate speed limits, having the right measures in place, and similar measures right across the county to address speed provides that consistency,” Kudo said in an interview.
The 16 corridors analyzed are made up of 27 road segments. Using criteria laid out in the new speed management guidelines, which take into consideration the speed most drivers travel on a given road, along with its technical characteristics, consultants found 12 of those segments should maintain their current speed limit. Nine segments should increase their speed limits by 10 km/h, two segments should decrease by 10 km/h. Four segments should increase the posted speed limit by up to 20 km/h.
In the two cases where speed limits are recommended to decrease, one on Wellington Road 41 near Arkell and another on Wellington Road 50 east of Rockwood, council will consider lowering the posted speed limit at an upcoming meeting.
Roads where the new guidelines dictate the current speed limit is 10 km/h too slow will be left as is. For roads where consultants say speed limits should be increased by 20 km/h, for example on Wellington Road 124 from the City of Guelph boundary to Watson Road N., staff will do further analysis before any decisions are made.
Minor low-cost changes are recommended at 11 locations analyzed. These include the installation of new speed radar signs, advisory signs, and flashing school zone signs. Pedestrian crossovers are recommended for five locations. Kudo estimates with $200,000 in annual spending, the recommended minor work and new pedestrian crossovers could be accomplished in around three to five years, but final decisions will be made during the county’s annual budget deliberations.
“Planning will be worked on and timing has not been determined,” Kudo said.
More costly road changes to manage speed are also recommended at eleven locations. These include traffic calming curb extensions, the addition of sidewalks, multi-use pathways, or paved boulevards, and changes to the road cross section. These major works will also be considered by council in future annual budget deliberations.
The report also identified three possible locations for automated speed enforcement, which uses cameras and radar to automatically issue tickets to drivers travelling too fast. The proposed locations are Wellington Road 24 near downtown Hillsburgh, Wellington Road 18 in downtown Fergus, and Wellington Road 11 in Drayton. These similarly would need to be budgeted for and approved by council.