Concerns raised over speed limits

At a Ponoka County council meeting attended by Mayor Dale Barr and CAO Tony Goode, Coun. Gawney Hinkley expressed concern over the 50th Avenue speed limit of 50 km/h.

  • Jul. 27, 2010 4:00 p.m.

By Adam Eisenbarth

The Town of Rimbey has recently heard two separate concerns regarding speed limits.

At a Ponoka County council meeting attended by Mayor Dale Barr and CAO Tony Goode, Coun. Gawney Hinkley expressed concern over the 50th Avenue speed limit of 50 km/h.

“The speed limit is 50 km/h down Main Street and most people go 70. I’ve been wanting for years to try and get the highway to slow that down to at least 40, because we’re so lucky we haven’t had a bunch of people killed.”

His concerns were heard and Mayor Dale Barr promised to look into the situation. “We’ll talk to the RCMP and see what their thoughts are. I know most municipalities are 50 km/h through town.”

After the meeting, Barr said he would take the discussion up with town council.

“We haven’t taken that comment back to council yet, but again, Rimbey is open to reviewing anything.”

Because the road is a numbered highway, council does not have the power to make the change itself, Barr explained. “Alberta Transportation has jurisdiction on that piece of road, so nothing will happen without their approval.”

Barr did note the Highway 53 traffic study was just completed by Alberta Transportation and recommends improvements to parking layouts and crosswalks but there is no specific timeline for when those changes should be made.

Another concern was raised in a letter to council regarding the speed limit on the newly paved Elevator Road, just east of Highway 20.

“This road is becoming, or is, a racetrack now with more traffic. It is a safety issue for people exiting or entering these businesses,” Scott Williamson, area supervisor with Gibson Energy, stated a letter to council.

Town council discussed the issue, and will determine whether the limit will be dropped near the businesses on the road.

“We’ll know a little more as we go through it,” Barr said. “We need time to evaluate other people’s opinions on it. Certainly we’re aware of our responsibility and for safety, but it’s also about traffic flow. So we have to take those things into consideration.”

Council will involve the RCMP in this decision as well.

The speed limit wasn’t the only concern in the letter. The passing zone on the road near the businesses was also noted as a concern.

“I have to avoid travellers passing me while I was about to turn left,” Williamson said.

The road is partly the responsibility of the Town of Rimbey, but it also extends into county territory.

The issues are still being dealt with, and Barr says the process of making changes goes beyond simply posting new signs.

“Speed issues are a concern throughout the province, but again it’s about traffic flow and what it should be.”

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