Are speed limits too low?

Penticton city council is taking another look at the 30-kilometre-per-hour zones covering parts of the downtown, but revitalization work in recent years will make it difficult to raise speed limits.

City staff have been asked to re-examine the issue of downtown speed limits that were lowered back in 2014, according to a report going before council next week.

The city’s bylaw department and RCMP detachment are both opposed to increasing downtown speed limits back to 50 km/hr, primarily due to safety concerns.

“The RCMP have stated that it would be difficult for anyone to safely go faster than the 30 km/hr speed, given the number of elderly persons, people jaywalking and general inattentiveness in the area,” general manager of infrastructure Mitch Moroziuk said in his report, adding those problems are exacerbated in the summer.

Three pedestrians have been struck in the downtown core within the last three months, the RCMP noted.

The city’s engineering department says recent upgrades done to Main Street saw intersections raised between Lakeshore Drive and Wade and designed for vehicles traveling 30 km/hr. It would not be possible to increase speed limits to 50 km/hr on sections of Main, Westminster, Nanaimo and Wade without making changes to the intersections.

The Downtown Penticton Association is also opposed to raising speed limits, with an average of 81 per cent of businesses voicing support for the current 30 km/hr limits during a survey in January. 

“Based on the information obtained during the review of this issue it was found that the enforcement
agencies have not had any complaints about the 30 km/hr speed limit except from those ticketed, and that the accident rate would likely increase with an increased speed limit,” Moroziuk continues.

Council will discuss the matter Tuesday afternoon. Staff have presented three options; the status quo, opening consultation with the public on the issue, or direction to make changes.

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