Residents are likely to see changes to the posted speed limits for rural subdivisions throughout North Grenville later this year. In 2019, Municipal Council began to consider implementing a 40 km/h speed limit for all urban areas. After conducting a feasibility study, the Public Works Department launched a pilot project to test the efficacy of gateway signage and reduced speed limits. Gateway signage refers to the practice of utilizing signs at the entrance and exit to an area to define the speed limit within said area.
In his update to Council on the program, Operations Superintendent, Ryan Brault, explained that the pilot project indicates positive outcomes in the reduction of speeds, and facilitates consistency across the municipality, as well as with other municipalities in Ontario. Mayor Peckford stated that it is rare for her to “hear someone say that they think the speed limits shouldn’t have been reduced to 40, but quite the opposite.” Ryan, as well as council, did note that the success of any speed change is best supported with police presence, in order to actually effect a change in driver behaviour.
Following the success of the urban area gateway program, the Municipality has been considering a similar change for rural hamlets and subdivisions. For some areas, this change would constitute a reduction from 50 km/h, or the first time that clear posted speed limits are indicated on entrance and exit. Ryan suggested that Public Works staff would spend the Summer collecting more data in order to evaluate whether the gateway and speed reduction programs would, in fact, be suitable for the hamlets and subdivisions of North Grenville. Staff would then bring these findings to Council in the Fall, with the hopes of beginning some rollout by the end of the year, followed by a full rollout in the summer of 2022.
Councillor Kristin Strackerjan advocated for Council to act more quickly, in order to “support the requests that we’re getting from a lot of the different areas, saying that they are wanting to see something changed.”
Mayor Peckford suggested that Public Works prepare a recommendation for a by-law, applicable to the rural subdivisions, so that the reduction of speed could be enacted across the municipality, rather than on a case-by-case basis. She noted that she has “heard enough from many residents within some of those subdivisions to suggest that they would welcome it. Not necessarily everyone, there are speeders everywhere, and they are often within neighbourhoods, they don’t come from outside. But, certainly, some of the feedback I have gotten would suggest that there might be a logic to moving more quickly.”
Councillor John Barclay supported this push forward by motioning to direct Public Works to report back in September with information about rural subdivisions, such as current signage and speed limits, to inform by-laws that would expedite a speed limit change. For the rural hamlets, however, further data collection will indeed be required to ensure a safe and effective rollout of a rural gateway signage project.