Speed limits may be on the rise in King Township in future
Nov. 8, 2016
By Tim Kelly
Speed kills, or does it?
That was the debate councillors grappled with as they received a report delivered by staff last week on recent speeds of motorists on regional and local roads throughout King Township.
Drivers on many of King's roads were clocked at speeds that frequently showed at least 85 per cent of them travelling at least 15 km/h over the posted speed limit. In some cases, especially in the rural areas of the township, at least 85 per cent of the drivers were clocked travelling more than 30 km/h over the posted limit.
What it suggests to Township staff is speed limits should be raised to fall in line with speeds with which the vast majority of drivers are comfortable travelling. If the report's recommendations are eventually approved, where 85 per cent of drivers go more than 15 km/h over the limit, the speed would be raise by 10 km/h; where more than 85 per cent of drivers go more than 20 km/h over the limit the speed would go up up by 20 km/h.
Even though the report was merely presented for information and just received for comments, meaning no final decision was made, it still drew strong reaction from councillors.
Councillor Bill Cober had some issues with increasing speed limits, especially in and around Schomberg.
"Predominantly, this data is local traffic," Cober said, suggesting he believes most of the drivers exceeding speed limits in the township are local drivers.
"It's our personal responsibility to drive the speed limit in our own communities," he added. "People need to slow down," he said in reference to 85 per cent of drivers clocked driving 63 km/h on Dr. Kay Drive in Schomberg, which has a speed limit of 50 km/h. "That's local traffic … they want government to put a soother in everybody's mouth, people need to take responsibility," he exclaimed in saying he believes more traffic enforcement by York Regional Police is the answer to encouraging people to drive the speed limit.
"This is a social issue."
But Mayor Steve Pellegrini warned against councillors tinkering with speed limits and urged them to use evidence-based data and staff recommendations when making decisions about speed limits.
"It's critical that the road authority apply posted speed limits consistent without undue political and public influence that is not backed up by solid engineering analysis. Speeds that are set individually for political reasons that are not related to the physical environment will result in the disregard for the limits. This causes driver frustration and confusion and may cause the opposite of the intended effect," said Pellegrini in reading from the staff report.
He said people drive at comfortable speeds and argued for a consistent approach when it comes to speed limits across King Township.
"If we arbitrarily put speeds that are too low, people don't follow them," Pellegrini said.
"To put all our roads at 40 or 50 (km/h), people won't follow that. And then we're in a worse situation," the mayor added.
The report will now go back to staff with council and public comments taken into consideration and will come back to council at a later date.