In the hopes of enforcing street racers and drivers to slow down on a notorious stretch of Lazo Road, Comox council has changed the speed limit in the area and implemented a speed reduction measure.
At the April 21 council meeting, council approved a motion brought forth by Coun. Alex Bissinger to lower the speed limit from 50 km/hr to 30 km/hr and install a dynamic radar speed sign.
Earlier in the month, council heard from Rob James, the president of the Point Holmes Recreation Association. He voiced concerns brought forth to him about close calls between pedestrians and cyclists, parking and speeding in particular.
He suggested the idea of additional signage at the town limit just prior to the Cape Lazo campground all the way to the top of the hill on Knight Road. Additionally, he inquired about welcome signs at each end of the stretch of road, cautioning motorists about pedestrians and cyclists and the possibility of designating the entire ‘park’ area a 30km/hr zone.
Coun. Maureen Swift expressed some concerns about lowering the speed limit.
“There are problems out there, but usually before we do anything, we collect our own data. I don’t believe we’ve done that,” she said. “I’m wondering about the radar sign – with the people speeding along there, they might enjoy that to see how fast they’re going.”
She suggested having a staff report and noted she would like to consider the impact on the boat launch as well.
Coun. Ken Grant agreed with Swift and added that enforcement needs to be done, “but we don’t seem to be able to get that on a consistent basis.”
Shelley Ashfield, the director of operations for the town explained the municipality can reduce the speed in the area, but it would require a bylaw. If a bylaw is not in place, enforcement would be difficult outside of a school zone or park, she added.
Councillors agreed more police enforcement is needed in the area and wondered if the military police at 19 Wing Comox could assist.
Bissinger noted the area might be outside their jurisdiction.
“I’m sure we can ask them to drive by (but I’m not sure) whether or not they can do anything – they could call RCMP for enforcement.”
The issue was questioned by Coun. Nicole Minions as to if the 30 km/hr zone could be actually be enforced.
“I say we put it up and figure it out later,” replied Mayor Russ Arnott.
Ashfield added traffic tubes will be placed for two weeks in the Lazo Road area to collect volume as well as speed.
The current 2021-2025 strategic plan includes the design of Lazo Road upgrades in 2021. The project includes the renewal of the existing asphalt and the addition of paved shoulders and other traffic calming measures to improve the safety of all users on Lazo Road from Simba Road to Kye Bay Road.
The project will also investigate safety upgrades for the parking areas.