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Sundridge considers new 30 km/h speed limit on Main Street

The current speed limit on Main Street is 50 km/h
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Motorists travelling though Main Street in Sundridge may have to slow down a great deal in the near future.

After getting complaints of people speeding on the street, which runs parallel to Highway 124 (Ontario Street), the town council is looking at limiting the speed limit to 30 km/h.

The current speed limit on Main Street is 50 km/h.

However, the roadway from 71 Main St. to 136 Main St., where Sundridge Centennial Public School falls into, already has a maximum speed limit of 30 km/h and is classified as a Community Safety Zone.

The proposed 30 km/h speed limit would begin where Main Street meets Union Street at the east end of the village to Albert Street at the west end, a distance of about two kilometres.

In addition to the public school, Main Street has a number of businesses on it, as well as some homes, and quite a few residential streets come off it.

Coun. Steve Hicks brought the matter to council after getting complaints from two residents a couple of weeks apart.

“People speed up the moment they leave the school zone around the Eco-Centre (Near North Enviro-Education Centre) and they're speeding up significantly,” Hicks said.

“I don't think there are a lot of people but it is a short list of consistent people with a lack of respect.”

Bylaw enforcement officer Jason Newman said speeding is an issue “every town struggles with.”

Newman said infrastructure like speed bumps and flashing speed signs get people to slow down, but “the second they pass them, their foot is on the gas like they want to make up for lost time.”

He said the village could put up maximum speed limit signs, but enforcing the proposed limit is going to be the problem.

The Ontario Provincial Police covers a lot of territory in the Almaguin Region, he said, and “I can guarantee the OPP sitting on Main Street won't override a domestic (dispute call).”

But Hicks said once the new maximum limit comes into effect, it wouldn't take many instances of motorists getting speeding tickets before they got the message that they need to slow down.

Hicks said with plenty of homes and people in the Main Street area, “maybe it was time” the village look at lowering the speed limit.

Newman said a 30 km/h speed limit is not unheard of in communities, adding that Callander has such a limit in place.

Newman said there's value in reaching out to other municipalities to learn their success stories on how they coped with speedy motorists.

In response, Hicks said he's not against more research on the issue, “but I'm not afraid to go with a lower speed limit either.”

Newly appointed councillor Fraser Williamson said he lives on Main Street.

Williamson told his council colleagues he wished the Community Safety Zone could have been longer because it would stop some motorists from whipping past people's homes.

Williams said there will always be speeders. But once the limit goes into effect, although it may be hard to enforce, he said “some people will do the right thing and slow down.”

Town council has directed staff to investigate options on how to reduce speed along the Main Street corridor and also to look at deterrents.

Staff will report its findings to council at a future meeting.

If the new speed limit moves ahead, Newman said signs would need to be put in place to tell motorists they are driving through a 30 km/h zone.

Most streets in Sundridge have a 50 km/h speed limit but speeding on these roads is not considered problematic because the streets are very short.

- Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.