Downtown Penticton speed limit no issue to anyone but city council - InfoNews

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Downtown Penticton speed limit no issue to anyone but city council

FILE PHOTO - New traffic calming measures on Penticton's Main Street intersections would have to be reconstructed if speed limits were to increase.
February 19, 2019 - 5:00 PM

PENTICTON - The only ones complaining about downtown Penticton's low speed limit appear to be the driver's handed speeding tickets, but that didn’t stop city councillors from engaging in a lengthy discussion about it today.

The 30 km/h speed limit was introduced by a previous council in November 2014 following a five-month period of study by council, members of the public and the Downtown Revitalization and Transportation Committee, who all agreed to lower the limit from 50 km/h, general manager of infrastructure Mitch Moroziuk told at city council's meeting today, Feb. 19.

Moroziuk, while not specifying exactly why the issue was being re-examined, said staff spoke to the city’s bylaw personnel, RCMP, the city engineering department and the Downtown Penticton Association, who all said no one had complained about the lowered speed limit except those who had been ticketed for driving with excessive speed downtown.

Recent enhancements to Main Street during revitalization construction has resulted in redesigned intersections with traffic calming measures meant to limit speed limits to 30 km/h, he said. An increase to the speed limit on Main Street couldn’t be done without making changes to those upgrades.

Even the Penticton and Area Cycling Association weighed in on the matter, declaring its support to maintain the lowered speed limits.

Moroziuk said none of the groups or agencies consulted favoured a return to higher speeds in the downtown core. He noted research by Vision Zero road safety showed a 90 per cent survival rate by pedestrians struck by a vehicle moving at 30 km/h compared to a 15 per cent survival rate by those hit by a vehicle travelling at 50 km/h.

Coun. Katy Robinson said it “boggled her mind” so many downtown businesses had support for the 30 km/h limit.

“It surprises me, because it makes it more difficult for people to get in and out of downtown in a timely manner,” she said. “I guess what I have the hardest time with is nobody really drives 30 K. They don’t drive 30 K on Main Street and they don’t drive 30 K on the other streets, so I’m watching everybody go by me.”

Coun. Julius Bloomfield said in the next year or two there would be 200 to 300 new residential units coming on stream in the downtown core, which was going to add noticeably to pedestrian traffic downtown.

Coun. Judy Sentes said downtown businesses “absolutely supports staying in a 30 km/h speed zone.”

“I don’t know why this came back. I’m curious sometimes about our staff time. I mean this has taken some time and I’m not sure where the question came from," Sentes said.

"It certainly didn’t come from the Downtown Penticton Association,” she said, to which Coun. Robinson responded, “It came from me, during the election.”

Council voted in favour of making no changes to the 30 km/h limit downtown.


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