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Region will lower speed limit to 40 km/h near school on Myers Road

Region says it will also install flexible bollards and direct drop-off and pick-up school traffic through school property
40 km/h temporary speed sign
File photo. Blair Adams/KitchenerToday

The region will drop the speed limit on Myers Road near Moffatt Creek Public School immediately after regional council voted unanimously in favour of Cambridge Mayor Kathryn McGarry’s motion to implement a 40 km/h limit on the troubled stretch.

Local efforts to improve safety on the road have been ongoing for several months and were pushed to the forefront by Ward 7 Coun. Scott Hamilton last fall after a child was struck while crossing the road outside of a designated crosswalk. 

McGarry, who tabled the motion at Wednesday's regional council meeting, said elected officials consider public safety a top priority and road safety issues are one of the top reasons residents reach out with concerns.

She referred to the letters of support included in the agenda’s correspondence, including one from Tricia Dean, the mother of a nine-year-old boy who was struck and injured by a service vehicle on Myers Road while crossing on his way home from Moffatt Creek Public School last September.

In her letter, Dean said she believes if the speed limit was lower when her son was crossing the road that day, the driver would have had time to stop.

“Give cars the opportunity to spot children and have time to stop their vehicles by lowering the speed to 40 km/h like all other school zones,” she wrote.

Moffatt Creek parent Daniella Ciotta wrote that speeding and traffic congestion near the school is “a huge problem during these peak times when students and parents are trying to get to and from school, and trucks and work vehicles are passing through.”

The amount of development in the area is another reason why the speed limit needs to be lowered, McGarry said, citing plans for the city’s recreation complex and two new schools that will be part of a new subdivision currently under construction near the end of Myers Road.

Other letters of support came from staff from the three schools on Myers Road, school board staff and the school boards’ transportation service provider, who McGarry said worked together to bring the motion forward because of concerns about student safety near the schools. 

The 40 km/h school zone limit is already in place in front of Holy Spirit Catholic Elementary School and Monsignor Doyle high school.

The motion calls for 40 km/h zones to be in place in front of all schools in the region.

“They want to see the consistency of 40 km/h in all school zones,” McGarry said. “We all know that decreased speeds decrease stopping distance…and outcomes for those that are hit, whether on bicycle or pedestrians are certainly improved.”

The City of Cambridge has a 40 km/h pilot program underway now in four neighbourhoods where speeds are considered a problem.

Lowering the speed limit on the southeast end of Myers Road ahead of reconstruction of the road “would go a long way to signal to all of the drivers that this needs to be a safe zone,” she said.

The mayor added active transportation experiences can also be improved with lower speed limits.

“Ultimately the responsibility for following the rules falls to all of us,” McGarry said.

Regional councillor Karl Kiefer seconded the motion, saying he and fellow Cambridge rep on regional councillor Helen Jowett, and Ward 7 Scott Hamilton, who championed the motion, have been “inundated” with requests for the speed limit change.

He said the region still needs to carry on a dialogue with the school board with parking issues along Myers Road.

Jowett said they understand the 40 km/h speed limit is “not the magic bullet” to solving the safety issues near Moffatt Creek school. 

It comes in conjunction with the need to ensure that children cross at the crosswalk and parents park their vehicles sensibly when dropping off or picking up their kids from school, she said. 

The region’s commissioner of transportation and environmental services, Thomas Schmidt, said he supports the change but noted that, in his experience, simply changing the sign is not going to be effective in changing behaviour.

In the spring, the region plans to install flexible bollards on Myers Road. 

“Providing some obstructions does make people slow down,” he said.

The region will also look at ways of stopping drivers from stopping in front of Moffatt Creek school and moving traffic within the school property for that purpose.

“There’s a lot being done on that road to decrease speeds and improve safety,” he said.

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Doug Coxson

About the Author: Doug Coxson

Doug has been a reporter and editor for 25 years, working mainly in Waterloo region and Guelph
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