St. Clair nixes reconsideration of speed limit reduction on parkway

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St. Clair Township council shot down a reconsideration motion that would have seen the speed limit on the St. Clair Parkway between Holt Line and Riverview Central Public School reduced from 70 km/h to 50 km/h.

A previous motion to reduce the speed limit on that portion of the parkway had been defeated during council’s May 17 meeting.

But with a number of messages sent to the township by area residents upset with the decision, Coun. Rose Atkins asked council on June 7 to reconsider their previous decision.

“I appreciate the data and the staff report that we received a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve spent the past two weeks reading all of the information we’ve received and I think about lived experience,” she said. “The parkway in front of my house is 50 km/h and I can’t imagine increasing it to 70 km/h. So I’d like to put a motion forward to reconsider.”
Deputy Mayor Steve Miller re-iterated his opposition to changing the speed limit at that particular section of the parkway, saying it would become more dangerous if a lower speed limit was implemented.

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“I think we’ll be creating a problem, not solving one by … reducing the speed limit,” he said. “Because when people get on this, it’s going to become a passing zone. It’s going to be far more dangerous than driving 70 km/h.”

Coun. Pat Brown noted the area is far more developed now than it ever had been before, possibly meriting a reduction in speed.

“In that are … there is a lot of built-up residential space now and it is a short distance,” he said. “I’m not set on 50 or 60 km/h as a realistic speed limit.”

Atkins asked council to consider the safety of those who live in the area as well as those who utilize the St. Clair River Trail to get to Riverview Central Public School.

“That was a rural area that has been built up now to a developed neighbourhood with 90 homes. I think about the trail that’s built there, we built that trail to encourage family activity and active transportation,” she said. “So that’s exactly what we have – kids biking from Sombra to go to Riverview School, some kids biking to Port Lambton, some kids from Port Lambton biking to the school – and it’s odd that that’s the only area (on the parkway) near the school that has a speed limit higher than 50 km/h. To me, it is a safety concern and I would support changing it to 50 km/h.”

Council voted against the reconsideration motion, with four opposed and two in favour.

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