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Speed limit change pitched to council

KAWARTHA LAKES: This week, Councillors will tackle a report detailing the measures that would be needed as a result of lowering the speed limit on city streets from 50 km/h to 40 km/h.

The report comes before Council at their meeting on Tuesday, July 16th following a request from Councillor Pat Dunn, a former police officer, earlier this year to review urban speed limits.

As part of a thorough report from City staff, rationale for lowering the speed limit, the costs of the change, comments from police, and the practices in other communities that have tackled changing speed limits were all included.

The report cites a 2012 report from the office of Ontario’s Chief Coroner, which recommended an overhaul of residential-area speed limits.

“Deputy Chief Coroner Dr. Bert Lauwers has said that the higher rate of speed at which a pedestrian is struck, the greater the chance of death,” the staff report states. “As a response to the corners report, new legislation has been approved that has granted the power to Municipalities to designate reduced speed ‘areas’ under the Highway Traffic Act with signs only at entrances and exits to the area. The City of Kawartha Lakes can use this to designate neighbourhoods, communities, or entire villages and towns.”

According to the report, the cost of changing signage because of lowering the speed limit could be as high as $157,000.

As part of the report, Kawartha Lakes Police Sargeant. Dave Murtha explained that “it does not appear that speed is a significant contributing factor to collisions taking place in town. Based on that, I do not foresee a reduction in speed having a significant impact on the number of collisions taking place.”

He also recommended that there be a period of time with increased enforcement levels due to a likely increase in speeding ticket issued, and public complaints.

Councillors where presented with three options as part of the report: maintaining the status quo and looking at lowering speed limits individually; implementing designated community speed zones throughout the City; or lowering the speed limit in Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls, Lindsay, Omemee and Woodville, which are the five communities designated as Urban Settlement Areas under the City’s Official Plan. Staff has offered the recommendation that Councillors opt to hold public consultations to help decide between the options.

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