Council votes to reduce speeds on cabin district roads

A simple request for a speed limit reduction on 50A Avenue in the lower camp area of Sylvan Lake has morphed into a wide ranging

A simple request for a speed limit reduction on 50A Avenue in the lower camp area of Sylvan Lake has morphed into a wide ranging alignment of speeds throughout the town’s cabin area and east end.

Councillors unanimously approved a recommendation at Tuesday night’s council meeting to reduce speeds on all “cabin district roads from 34th Street to 45th Street”, as well as on 50A Avenue, remove two stop signs on 50A Avenue at 32nd Street affecting north-south traffic and create a crosswalk and install signage at that intersection.

The 50 km/hr zone on 33rd Street (formerly Highway 11A) from Lakeshore Drive to the roundabout and on Range Road 13 north of 33rd Street will be reduced to 40 km/hr to remove one speed limit variation from the equation and “support the 40 km/hr unless otherwise posted speed limit position of the town”.

More than a year ago, Ranald White, on behalf of Sylvan Holding Society, submitted a letter asking for the half kilometre section of 50A Avenue from Highway 11A northeast to the town limits be reduced from 40 km/hr to 30 km/hr.

The request was reviewed last November and the Operational Services committee felt there was insufficient rationale to justify the change.

Then White approached council in July and councillors requested a review by the committee.

Following staff input, the committee approved implementation of a variety of speed limit changes and signage. Their recommendation was unanimously supported by councillors.

When White made his presentation to council in July he noted the amount of pedestrians on 50A Avenue and the lack of sidewalks in that area. He also stated that the speed limit in Jarvis Bay where 50A Avenue continues into the summer village is 30 km/hr. and Lakeshore Drive has been reduced to 30 km/hr.

A nine-page report, complete with charts of current intended and inadvertent speed zones as well as the proposal was presented to councillors by Nick Reijnen, manager of municipal enforcement.

The charts indicated there are four speed zones in the area, 30, 40, 50 and 60 km and if Highway 20 is included there’s an 80 km zone.

He noted the four speed limit variations “are irregular and unnecessary and create a confusing “web” of speed commands. As a result, the public is unreasonably compelled to negotiate these disjointed speed zones, all within a relatively small and consistent urban traffic environment.

“Multiple unnecessary speed and speed transition zones create uncertainty for motorists, increase risks, decreases safety and, from an enforcement perspective, are very difficult to effectively enforce. Unwarranted speed-control commands in a relatively small area often frustrate motorists, and produce both willful and involuntary non-compliance.”

Councillor Sean McIntyre questioned the need for crosswalks when there are no sidewalks.

“I live in the area and we need something,” said Councillor Rick Grimson. “There are little guys back and forth across there running to the beach.”