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Wellington North to create rural school zone speed policy

by Olivia Rutt

KENILWORTH - Wellington North council has directed staff to develop a policy that deals with vehicle speeds in rural school zones in the township.

The intent of the policy is to create consistency in seven rural school zones.

CAO Mike Givens presented a report to council on Jan. 8 outlining the school sites in Wellington North and what is currently in place.

The resolution was blank, allowing council to have a discussion on what it would like to see.

The current school sites include:

- Sideroad 3E and Concession 4: 80km/h gravel road with a two-way stop;

- Concession 11 and Sideroad 5W: 80km/h to 50km/h paved road;

- Concession 6N: 80km/h paved road with kids playing sign;

- Line 12: 80km/h paved road;

- Concession 6W: 80km/h gravel road;

- Sideroad 2E: 80km/h gravel road; and

- Sideroad 7W and Highway 6 (Kenilworth Public School): 50km/h paved road.

Council originally directed staff to research the issue last May.

“I’m pretty frustrated with the lack of content and recommendations that’s in this report,” said councillor Sherry Burke.

“The safety of students travelling to and from school is important and this issue should not be taken lightly by council or staff.”

She added there shouldn’t be a divide when it comes to rural or urban students’ routes to and from school.

“I would like to see some sort of consistency across the board when we’re looking at schools,” she said.

Mayor Andy Lennox said the county has a policy around speed in school zones. In a rural area, it is reduced to 60km/h and in an urban area, the speed is reduced to 40km/h.

“And that is consistent across the county with the exception of the school on County Road 16, which is in Wellington North,” Lennox said, adding the county is open to amending the speed limit there.

Councillor Steve McCabe suggested 40km/h be applied to all schools, rural and urban.

“I  think we have to have a standard ... and I insist that it should be the same; it doesn’t matter rural or urban, it should be 40(km/h),” he said.

Councillor Dan Yake agreed, saying safety is of the “utmost importance” in the township.

“We can put up all the signs we want, we can reduce the speed limits to what we want, and ultimately, people need to pay attention to those,” Yake said.

Lennox said he thought dropping to 40km/h from an 80km/h zone would be a compliance problem.

“(The county’s) perception of the way traffic reacts is if it goes from 80 to 40, people will just ignore it as opposed to going from 80 to 60, people will actually slow down,” said Lennox.

“Once we do ours, then it’s up to the enforcement agencies to deal with that,” countered Yake.

Givens suggested that council scrap the motion and direct staff to come back with a policy about speed in rural school zones and consult with the OPP regarding the effect of that policy.

Council approved that action.

January 12, 2018


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