City hopes new signs will curb Downes speed issues

‘50 kilometres [an hour] is almost impossible to drive,’ councillor says about speed-plagued road

The city hopes a wave of new signs and road markings can finally slow speeders on Downes Road.

Downes Road has been plagued by high speeds for years, with drivers regularly hitting 100 km/h on the road even though speed limits on the rural east-west corridor top out at 60 km/h, with some stretches limited to 50 km/h.

Residents have long decried the speeds, with a petition submitted three years ago begging the city to deal with the problem.

RELATED: Speeders often hit 100 km/h on Downes Road

RELATED: Residents ‘fed up’ with Downes Road speeders

Transportation staff have developed a plan that includes new road markings, along with signs to alert drivers to just how fast they’re going compared to the speed limit.

Staff will add a bevy of signs, relocate others, and install “optical speed bar pavement markings.” Among the new signs will be those that use radar to display how fast drivers are travelling.

Coun. Les Barkman asked why the speed limit on the road couldn’t be increased to a uniform 60 km/h.

“I know 80 and 90 kilometres on that road is fairly common, but 50 kilometres is just about impossible to drive,” Barkman said.

Mike Kelly, a senior transportation manager with the city, said staff were assigned to not physically make changes to the roadway or speed limits. But he added that the 50 km/h limit is in place because of several driveways in hilly sections of Downes where visibility is compromised.

“It’s important that we ensure [drivers] have appropriate time to make those decisions to either accelerate or decelerate,” Kelly said.

Barkman, who also spoke of residents’ desires for more enforcement in the area, cast the lone vote against the plan.

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