June 25, 2014

Most rural roads will have speed limit of 60

As published in The Erin Advocate

The Town will spend $10,000 for about 175 new speed limit signs, enabling enforcement of a bylaw that sets most rural limits at 60 kph and most urban ones at 40 kph.

Council approved a bylaw that has been needed since the Town discovered the default speed limit on most rural roads is actually 50 kph, not 80 kph as most people (and the OPP) had believed.

The problem relates to the 1998 amalgamation of Erin village and township. Erin was a “town” when the new Municipal Act took effect in 2003, setting the default at 50 for “towns” (including their rural areas) and 80 for “townships”. Without proper signs, this was not being enforced.

Council has the right to override the defaults and set speed limits ranging from 40 to 80, but because of Erin’s hilly terrain and low-quality roads in many areas, safety standards require a limit of less than 80.

Drivers entering the Town will soon see signs saying the speed limit is 60 kph “unless otherwise posted”. The new bylaw will apply to Town roads, but not to County roads, which have their own limits. Many border roads will continue to have limits higher than 60, until agreement is reached with neighbouring municipalities on a common limit.

Road Superintendent Larry Van Wyck reminded councillors that they had received legal advice on the issue, that a consultant and staff had reviewed all roads and that they had previously given him direction to prepare a bylaw with a general limit of 60 in rural areas and 40 in urban areas.

The bylaw, published with the June 17 agenda, lists every section of every road with its speed limit. There are some exceptions to the normal standards, with limits of 50 or 70 in some areas. A sign is required at every point where the limit changes.

Ninth Line south of Erin village will be 50 kph down to 10 Sideroad, then 60 kph to County Road 42 (Town Line / Ballinafad Road).

“To assist motorists and police, efforts have been made to provide a consistent speed along a road section, rather than increasing and decreasing zones over short distances,” said Van Wyck.

Staff will prepare a coloured map showing all the Erin speed zones, which will be available at www.erin.ca.