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Speed limit on Puslinch road increased despite concerns

The decision followed a delegation from a community group asking that council keep the existing speed limit for safety reasons

PUSLINCH ‒ Concerns about increasing the speed limit from 50 km/hour to 70 km/hour on Lake Road fell on deaf ears during the September Roads Committee Meeting. 

Choosing to increase the speed limit an additional 20 km/hour west of McClintock Drive on Lake Road in Puslinch, the decision followed a delegation from a member of the Lake Road Community Committee, Daniela De Francesca, asking that council keep the existing speed limit as she fears for the safety of her community.

According to De Francesca, most houses on Lake Road have children under 13 and while they appreciate the ongoing work that the county has implemented, she said people already don't follow the speed limits and she’s concerned the newly widened shoulders may lure pedestrians into a false state of security. 

“All I can say is were to anything to happen…because of negligent drivers, we will pursue it,” said De Francesca, following the decision. “That’s all we can do.” 

Another member of the group who attended the meeting, Tamsim Lambert, said she feels it's irresponsible to allow the current driving behaviours to dictate how safe their families are. 

“Our line of houses is home to children of all ages who have been enjoying the new shoulder, something previous families haven’t been able to do,” said Lambert. “We are thankful to council for giving our community new life and energy but the very real reality is that one distracted driver can take that away from all of us.” 

Rumble strips and photo radar were some speed-mitigating devices that the group suggested during the meeting as "nothing gets someone’s attention like a hole in their pocket.” 

“Generally there are very few people that I believe will obey the decrease in speed,” said De Francesca, during the meeting. “They’ll see the 70 km/h when the road starts and then they’ll just keep going 70 km/hour because people are oblivious sometimes.” 

According to county engineer Don Kudo, Lake Road has already been identified as a future location for speed radar signs they just haven’t been installed to date. 

County Coun. Gregg Davidson also said that they’ll see if the road qualifies for automated speed enforcement when it's available. 

“Significant time and money and effort has been put into this road,” said Davidson. “I can tell you that…I don’t remember another part of the community getting this kind of treatment”  

But Warden Andy Lennox said most automated speeding enforcement is only eligible for community safety zones and Lake Road doesn’t meet the criteria. 

“Most of the automated speeding enforcement is only eligible for community safety zones and this does not qualify under that criteria,” said Lennox. “To suggest that we’re going to have automated speed enforcement in this area in the short-term is unrealistic.”

While he was sympathetic to the group, Lennox also said that there are multiple factors that determine a driver's speed and behaviour outside of a speed limit. 

“I understand the concerns about the increased speed but I do think we need to give some time to the pieces we’ve implemented to show how well they work and then take further measures,” said Lennox. “This is a common concern that we’re hearing but I think we need to take this step by step a little bit and see what benefits we’re getting from the upgrades we’ve already put in there.”

Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

About the Author: Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Isabel Buckmaster covers Wellington County under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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