All Town-maintained roads in Bracebridge may soon be set at a default speed limit of 40 km/hr.
Town staff recommended the councillors make the switch during yesterday’s general committee meeting as part of a new Transportation Master Plan. The Plan recommends sweeping changes for the town’s transportation system including studies for new roundabouts at Monck Road and Balls Drive, and Manitoba Street and Monck Road; as well as new bike lanes and pedestrian crossings throughout town and 54 km of cycling routes.
The Transportation Plan study was conducted over the past two years by staff and constants and included multiple rounds of public and shareholder consultations.
Zach Henderson, who helped prepare the report with ARCADIS Professional Services Canada In, said lowering speeds is the best way to provide safer streets.
“Collision impacts at 40 km/hr are significantly less traumatic for pedestrians and cyclists than they are at 50 km/ hr,” he said.
The speed limit restrictions drew the majority of the council’s attention with several expressing their support for the changes.
Councillor Barb McMurray said she fully supported 40 km/hr limits for all rural and urban streets. She said the rural streets in her ward have no sidewalks and pedestrians are “jumping into the ditch” to avoid drivers at excessive speeds.
Councillors Tatiana Sutherland and Brenda Rhodes also voiced their support for lowering the speed limits across the board.
“If we want to take a look at our communities as a whole and make sure we’re promoting active transportation…I think this is a great move,” said Rhodes.
Coun. Don Smith said he had issues with passing the new speed limits immediately.
“There are a number of anomalies that need to be addressed,” he said.
He pointed to Cedar Lane as an example. Some sections of the road fall under District of Muskoka jurisdiction (which will not be impacted by the changes) and have an 80 km limit, and others will be dropped to 40 km/hr.
Smith said simply changing the speed limits won’t offer the results the Town is looking for.
“We have an enforcement issue,” he said. “The 85 percent of people who already drive at a safe speed will obey that. The problem is we have the 15 percent who won’t obey that.”
Coun. Archie Buie said he had many more questions about the proposal and asked for a deferral until the next meeting on Dec. 6. Council voted 4-3 to defer.
The plan also presented a number of significant additional changes, including a multi-lane roundabout study for District Road 118 / Monck Road / Balls Drive; a roundabout feasibility study for Manitoba Street and Monck Road, and the complete street extension from Salmon Avenue to District Road 118.
The plan also calls for the development of a safe and connected cycling network including 54 km of cycling routes.
Three short-term priority projects include:
• Quebec Street / Ontario Street bicycle boulevard
• Wellington Street protected bike lanes / cycle tracks
• Manitoba Street bike lanes (north of Monck Road)
The plan also calls for new pedestrian crossing at:
1. District Road 118 at Santa’s Village Road
2. District Road 118 at Quebec Street
3. Manitoba Street midblock crossing
4. Manitoba Street at Kimberley Avenue (Memorial Park)
5. Manitoba Street at Willis Street
6. Manitoba Street at Wellington Street North
7. Taylor Road at York Street / Woodchester Avenue
8. Clearbrook Trail and Rosemead Close / Windsong Crescent
The plan provides a breakdown of costs as follows:
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