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Niagara Falls
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Speed limit on East and West Line will drop to 70 km/h
East-West Line resident Kurt Neumann spoke to concerns about speeding on that road. Richard Hutton
Coun. Wendy Cheropita, left, proposed reducing the speed limit on East-West Line to 70 km/h between Creek and Lakeshore roads. Richard Hutton

Drivers will need to slow down on a section of East and West Line between Four Mile Creek and Lakeshore roads after councillors decided to reduce the speed limit on that stretch of road to 70 kilometres an hour.

The speed limit is 80 km/h but residents living in the area say most drivers take that as a suggestion, rather than the law.

“I have three young children who will be attending Crossroads (Public School),” said resident Kurt Neumann.

“I can’t let them stand at the end of my driveway and wait for the bus. I can’t even get the mail at the end of my driveway without the risk of being blown off the road.”

Neumann spoke at Tuesday’s committee-of-the-whole meeting, commenting on a staff report detailing the results of a speed monitoring study on East and West Line.

When the town conducted the study last June, it monitored the speed of vehicles travelling between Wagg and Four Mile Creek roads where the speed limit is 80 km/h, he said.

The study found that the average speed of drivers was 71 km/h and the “results would indicate that the current speed limit is performing as intended.”

The East and West Line problem was made worse by a reduction of the speed limit on Line 1 to 60 km/h brought about an increase in traffic on East and West Line from drivers looking for a quick route to St. Catharines, Neumann said.

That point was echoed in the staff report that said lowering the speed limit to 60 km/h would “push traffic” to other east-west roads in the area, “which are less suitable to supporting the traffic volumes and speeds accommodated by East and West Line.”

Wally Dingman, who has lived and operated a business on East and West Line for 48 years, said when he first came to the area, “traffic was light” but the situation has changed.

Drivers, he said, are travelling at speeds upwards of 110 km/h.

“That’s just the average,” he said.

While the report said staff was to look at traffic from Four Mile Creek to Lakeshore, that wasn’t done, Dingman said. 

“The town looked at the traffic moving between Wagg Road and Creek Road and Creek Road and Concession 4,” Dingman said. “Neither of those spots are problem spots.”

He said the speed on that section of East and West Line was dropped to 70 km/h six years ago whereas the problem is mainly on East and West Line between Lakeshore and Concession 6.

“The reality is that it is an open stretch of road, it’s dead straight and you think you can see ahead,” he said. “You think you can see what’s happening.”

When councillors considered the staff report, Coun. Wendy Cheropita put forward a motion that the speed limit on East and West Line be reduced to 70 km/h from Four Mile Creek to Lakeshore and that staff monitor speeds and come back with a report.

Coun. Nick Ruller agreed.

“I have concerns that we missed that stretch of road with the speed minder data,” he said. “It would be nice to see information that comes out of there.”

Coun. Maria Mavridis, meanwhile, was prepared to go further.

“I think we need to look at all the roads — speed limits, etc. — but my only concern that only reducing it to 70 (km/h). People are still going to go 80 and the night time drivers that go 100, 120, they’re still going to do it.”

Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa said while he appreciated making road safety a priority, the issue should be analyzed and considered for the town collectively and not “piecemeal” as has been the case.

“I would rather say our rural roads are going to 70 (km/h) across the board,” he said.

Cheropita had no issues with Zalepa’s idea but said there was no reason the speed limit on East West Line couldn’t be reduced now.

“We would have already accomplished it, at least in this area,” she said.

While councillors approved Cheropita’s motion, Zalepa put forward a notice of motion to have staff review speed limits town wide.

hutton@niagaranow.com

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