Transportation for Liveable Communities
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Transportation for Liveable Communities, a sustainable transportation working group of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group at McMaster University, would like to register our grave concern regarding a suggestion by Councillor Powers to raise the speed limit on Cootes Drive to 60km/h from the current 40km/h (Dundas Star News, November 30, 2007) in the vicinity of the pedestrian crossing at Sanders Blvd.
TLC would like to remind all parties that speed has a direct impact on the survival rates in collisions,
i.e. the higher the speed the greater likelihood of death in a collision.
The 40km/h speed limit was introduced to this area as a protective safety measure at a very busy pedestrian crossing, with a large volume of pedestrian traffic originating or having destinations at McMaster University.
TLC awaits the result of the speed study being conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the speed reduction, however, TLC cannot accept a decision that would allow lack of obedience to the posted limit to result in raising the speed limit. This would be rewarding law-breaking speeders at the expense of traffic safety. If we followed this logic, speed limits everywhere would reflect a dangerous upward curve resulting in higher fatality rates.
To alleviate the effect of velocitization1 on drivers going from an 80 zone to 60 to 40, we suggest reducing the maximum speed limit on Cootes from 80 to 70, and to ensure compliance, would support the placement a permanent speed camera near the crossing.
TLC has also advocated for enhanced traffic-calming measures, such as lane-narrowing and vertical deflection. If speeding continues to be a problem at the site of the crossing, TLC would like the city to explore the idea of a physically engineered solution rather than relying on signs to accomplish the required speed reduction.
An ongoing issue related to the crossing itself, TLC would like the timing of the pedestrian crossing light reviewed in general, with particular attention to a significant and unnecessary delay, primarily during rush-hours, for the pedestrian crossing to be activated after pushing the button.
TLC also requests a digital count-down display for this crossing, like the one used at Bay Street and King Street for example. Such display has become the standard in many Canadian cities, including Toronto.
Finally, TLC is very disappointed not to have been contacted by any agency to inform us of the existence of the speed study, despite TLC's ongoing and direct involvement in the issues of pedestrian safety at the Cootes crossing, having to instead discover the news via the media. TLC thus requests a print copy of the report for our records, and a commitment to be included in any further discussion on this important pedestrian/cyclist crossing.
1 the phenomenon that driver's experience when driving at a high rate of speed for extended periods of time and the speed no longer feels as fast when they enter into a zone with a slower posted speed limit (Hamilton Police Service)