Lowering the speed limit to 40 km/hr throughout the village of Eugenia will be accompanied by a set of headaches and expenses for signage.
At its meeting on Oct. 4, Grey Highlands council received a staff report that outlined the impacts of possibly lowering the speed limit throughout the village to 40 km/hr.
Grey Highlands council has been looking at opportunities to improve road safety in Eugenia in the aftermath of a fatal collision last summer. In July 2022, a vehicle struck four pedestrians, killing 44-year-old Kevin Walsh.
The report received by council outlined the issues that would accompany a village-wide speed limit reduction. The speed limit in Eugenia is currently 50 km/hr, except on Grey Road 13, on which the limit is 40 km/hr.
If council was to lower the speed limit to 40 km/hr, the municipality would be required to post signage on all roads where the change was implemented. Since the default speed limit in the Highway Traffic Act is 50 km/hr, signage is not currently required in the village (except on Grey Road 13). A lowered limit would require increased signage on all village streets/roads. Staff estimated that 55 signs would be required at a cost of $4,080.
“That’s something to take into consideration before we go and change the speeds in that village,” said Coun. Dan Wickens.
Chris Cornfield, director of transportation and public spaces, said if the limit was lowered to 40 km/hr the municipality should expect “pushback” from the community on the number of signs being installed. He also noted in the relatively small area of Eugenia, the increased signage would present snow storage issues during the winter months.
“It will be a huge challenge for winter maintenance staff,” said Cornfield. “It is going to be a change in the landscape road facade.”
As part of the report, council also received information from the Ontario Provincial Police about the extent of speeding in Eugenia. During a one-week time period, the police monitored speeds in Eugenia and found that the 85th percentile of cars in the village were travelling 54 km/hr. Based on those results, the OPP advised that extra speed enforcement was not necessary in Eugenia.
Coun. Joel Loughead was disappointed with the OPP report. He said the numbers from the police showed plenty of speeding in the village (the report detailed that 608 vehicles had been observed going more than 51 km/hr during the monitoring period).
“That, to me, doesn’t read as no need for enforcement whatsoever,” said Loughead.
Mayor Paul McQueen wondered if signage for a lower limit could be phased in over time to address the concerns. In response, Clerk Raylene Martell said council could pass a bylaw to lower the speed limit, but it would not be enforceable without the signage.
Council received the report for information, but did not take action on the matter.