Thomas Kelly during Monday night's council meeting. January 18, 2017. (Photo by Natalia Vega)

Motion To Lower Speed Limit On Hwy. 3 Contradicts Traffic Study

Chatham-Kent council has decided to lower the speed limit on a section of Hwy. 3 just east of Port Alma, despite conflicting data from a municipal traffic study.

The motion, which was passed 11-7 at Monday night’s council meeting, calls for the 60 km/hr zone on Hwy.3 in Port Alma to be extended from the eastern boundary of the community to Askew Rd. This area currently has a speed limit of 80 km/hr.

Councillor Bryon Fluker brought the motion forward to address the complaints of several residents in the Port Alma area, who are concerned about their safety.

According to General Manager of Infrastructure and Engineering Services Thomas Kelly, data from the municipality supports an increase of the speed limit, rather than a reduction.

“We did a study last year that supported data that the natural speed was 96 km/hr. There was a case that the speed limit could be increased to 90 km/hr,” says Kelly.

Kelly, who expressed his disapproval of the motion, doesn’t believe the speed limit change will improve these residents’ safety.

“Our experience in the data says that it will not make a difference. What it will mean is that police will be handing out more tickets in that area because there will be less compliance,” explains Kelly.

He adds that there is a complex system that goes into deciding the speed limits of an area, and this system must be kept.

“There are studies that we do — it’s based on traffic counts, the speed, and the quantity as well,” he says. “We use that to guide us on our speed limits throughout Chatham-Kent.”