The Village of Cumberland is taking a look at possible speed limit reductions. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Cumberland considers shift to slower speeds

Some on council prefer targeted over blanket approach

It’s possible drivers in Cumberland might be facing speed reductions one day.

At the Sept. 14 regular meeting, council members discussed the potential for reductions to 30 km/h. The discussion was prompted by a resolution that came out of the 2019 Union of British Columbia Municipalities’ annual general meeting. This asked the provincial government to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to allow local governments to bring in blanket speed zones. The resolution notes the increased likelihood a pedestrian will survive if struck in a 30 km/h zone when compared with a 50 km/h zone.

Speed and other traffic issues have been at the top of local people’s minds, Mayor Leslie Baird told her colleagues, so she had asked for the matter to be placed on the council agenda.

“Traffic is one of the biggest complaints I get from Village residents,” she said, adding that some communities are going the route of new zones. “I thought that we, as a community, really need to look at what’s going on.”

RELATED STORY: Cumberland council sets police priorities for meeting

Baird said some communities are considering pilot projects as well as ways to inform residents.

“There’s different routes that we could take,” she said.

The report from the UBCM notes that Campbell River has introduced trial 40 km/n zones in two residential areas. It also says that municipalities can alter speed limits but must use traffic signs to define the new speed zones, both to inform driver and allow for enforcement.

During the discussion, council members noted some places would like to bring in 30 km/h limits, though there are questions the provincial government does not wish to look at this on a broad scale.

“It didn’t sound like the Province was receptive to that,” said Coun. Jesse Ketler, who added a local program would require extensive resources.

“Maybe we would be better off to look at targeting some problem areas, rather than ourselves trying to do a blanket 30k throughout the Village,” she added.

Coun. Vickey Brown did not think it would be hard for people to shift to slower speeds in much of the community, but there would be challenges posed at the entrances into Cumberland and the road to the lake. She said they needed to do public consultation about the issue, adding there are other traffic calming measures they can consider.

Baird responded that she would like staff to develop a report as part of a traffic and pedestrian study first. The Village also has a transportation master plan in the works, according to staff.

“My biggest thing is community engagement, and making sure the public are on side and are aware,” she said.

Council passed a motion for staff to include a speed limit reduction review as part of the traffic and pedestrian study and the transportation master plan.

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