Reduced Speed On Eighth Line Approved By CK Council

Chatham-Kent Civic Centre, July 23, 2015. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

Anyone who’s travelling Eighth Line through Bloomfield Rd. will have to adjust their speed as council passed a motion to bring the limit down to 60 km/h.

Ward 2 Councillor Trevor Thompson brought the issue to the meeting Monday night, where it passed 13-5. The decision means that 800 meters in both directions of Bloomfield Rd. on Eighth Line will now be 60 km/h, down from 80 km/h.

Thompson said it wasn’t something that should have taken council’s time, but he had heard too many complaints from residents in the area.

“I had to force the issue,” Thompson said. “Present a really cost-effective, really simple solution. Sometimes in the government, we get too complicated, too fancy and too bureaucratic. All [residents] wanted was a way to reduce the speed, increase the safety and reduce the noise.”

While Thompson felt his hand was forced in this particular case, he doesn’t believe these individual situations are what council should be dealing with regularly. According to the councillor, much of the discussion revolved around whether it should be a larger more holistic approach to speed limit concerns in the municipality with more in-depth reporting.

Thompson said the five who voted against the motion weren’t arguing the speed shouldn’t be reduced, but rather they wanted more in-depth analysis. The latter is an issue Thompson said costs time and money while sometimes yielding no results.

The councillor said the optimal way to deal with speed issues would be for them to not reach council at all. Thompson added most of the reports on these types of issues are data-driven, which doesn’t tell the whole story.

“It doesn’t tell you how the residents feel in the neighbourhood or how it feels to be walking along the side of the road or biking on it,” Thompson said. “It leaves out that human element.”

Thompson said the police and data collected can’t speak to the near misses or people having to put the brakes on really hard, or even pulling out really fast onto an 80┬ákm/h road.

The councillor added there needs to be a new way to handle situations that not only take data along with the “human element,” but also moves quickly. Thompson said he is tired of responding to concerned residents that the municipality is working on a traffic study for them, which could take up to three years to complete.

“You can understand how someone would get frustrated at that,” Thompson said. “Thinking a traffic study could come in three years time and then at the end of the study the data says the speed limit is fine there. So we’ve waited three years and haven’t gotten anything accomplished.”

According to Thompson, the Eighth Line decision means it is technically a 60 km/h zone as of Tuesday morning. He said if there aren’t signs up in the next couple of weeks he will make a push to staff to make sure it gets done.

“It’s a couple of signs and a couple of poles,” Thompson said. “I could have it done this afternoon if they let me, but obviously they won’t let me do that work.”