The safety of pedestrians and cyclists on the narrow streets of Warfield, especially children and seniors, has a neighbourhood joining together, determined to get the speed limit reduced to 30/km per hour.
And they all agree, the sooner the better.
Angela Weeks lives in Upper Warfield, and worries every time her children go outside to play because of vehicles driving by at, or above, the posted speed limit of 40 km/hr.
“Over the years traffic has inevitably increased, and we’ve noticed more and more people going 40 and above,” she began. “Forty is too fast, and the research shows it.”
Weeks pointed to a recommendation in the B.C. Health Officer’s annual report (Dr. Perry Kendall, 2016) that advises 30 km/hr is the survivable speed for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. The document states that speed limits of 30 km/hr, or lower, are safest for local neighbourhood roads and other mixed use roads where users are not protected via infrastructure.
Besides the provincial reference, Weeks also gathered some statistics on the local front.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with an off-duty RCMP officer in collecting some data with radar, so we are not imagining it,” Week emphasized.
“People are driving way too fast.”
With assistance from the police officer, she conducted traffic watches on Tennyson Avenue earlier this month. Weeks says the the first one, held July 4 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., revealed the average speed of 45 vehicles, travelling both directions, clocked at 43 km/hr and the highest was 68 km/hr.
“The lowest speed recorded was 31 km/hr, and that was an ‘L’ driver,” she noted.
Then on July 5, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., the average speed of 39 vehicles travelling both directions along that same stretch, clocked at 46 km/hr. The highest speed recorded that morning was 68 km/hr and the lowest, 36 km/hr.
“This data shows that we, the concerned citizens, are not imagining higher than normal speeds on our residential roadways,” explained Weeks.
Armed with these tangible facts and supported by like-minded parents, she presented her findings to Warfield council last week.
Foremost, is the parents are requesting timely action from their elected officials to lower the speed limit, and at the same time, they want to get the word out for all drivers to “slow down,” period.
“My objective was to communicate to the public that these are residential roads and we need to slow down,” Weeks told the Trail Times. “And that this is one more thing for Warfield to get on board with, to get with the times.”
She says council was very receptive but the delegates were not given a timeline or specific actions the village would take.
“I’d like some confirmation by September,” she said. “Kids will be travelling to and from school, we don’t have a sidewalk or safe spaces to walk or cycle, and that’s one of my biggest concerns,” Weeks shared.
“I have three children of my own and my heart is in my throat every time they go out to ride their bikes or run around the neighbourhood. I’d like to see things move forward.”
Warfield Mayor Diane Langman confirmed that council is on board with lowering the speed limit to 30 km/hr throughout the village.
“Rossland has gone through a similar process, changing the speed limits of their residential streets as well,” she began. “At our council meeting that evening (July 17), we directed staff to look into the ICBC Road Safety Program so we can evaluate signage in our community.”
Further to that, council has asked staff to begin looking at its traffic bylaw as the speed limit on municipal streets is directly tied into those regulations.
“The bylaw will need to be reviewed and then brought forward to council for four readings,” Langman told the Times. “We anticipate that these changes will come into effect in the fall.”
As well, Warfield officials plan to go a step further at the 2019 Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) conference.
“In September at UBCM, Warfield council has requested a meeting with the Ministry of Transportation to discuss speeding through our community on the highway,” Langman said. “Along with the issues we have been having with the intersection at the school.”