Does Niagara-on-the-Lake do enough for traffic safety?
Over a year ago I wrote to the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake regarding my concerns with the speed limits on the town's rural roads. We have a crazy mix of 60, 70 and even 80 km/h on rural roads in NOTL.
Why is that? The only road that meets province of Ontario highway standards is what is commonly referred to as Highway 55.
When built, it required wide shoulders, a proper granular base and proper thickness hot asphalt, laid in layers.
The area between the wide gravel shoulder and adjacent private property is wide and gradually sloped to the ditch. There are no trees or other obstacles within the zone of the highway.
I drive Concession 1 regularly and have walked sections of it. Quite often I cycle on that road as well.
I am not a transportation expert, but Concession 1 fails the requirements of a provincial highway in every way possible.
It does not have a proper base (or there would not be crowns in the middle of each driving lane), it has no asphalt (just tar and gravel), there is no proper gravel shoulder.
The ditches are sometimes deep and steeply sloped adjacent to the driving surface, and the tar and gravel is typically breaking away along the edge.
There are ongoing issues with potholes and many have patches on top of patches. Even sections that were “resurfaced” last year are cracking where the old cracks were, especially near the edges.
There is one section south of Line 3 where there is a steel guardrail, with a blunt end facing traffic, that is only about two feet from the edge of the travel surface. No one stands a chance if they have to veer and hit that.
We have three grandchildren ages 2 to 8, who live on Line 6 between Concession 1 and the Niagara Parkway.
Many people use this as a shortcut between east Niagara Falls and Old Town, or from Queenston to Virgil.
That would be fine in itself but you can hear some folks accelerating at either end and they sometimes hit speeds above 80 km/h. What chance does any pedestrian or cyclist have with vehicles at those speeds running past numerous houses on either side of the road?
Concession 2 has somewhat better conditions than Concession 1 and the speed is sensibly set at a maximum of 70 km/h. It is ridiculous that Concession 1 is an 80 km/h zone
Come on, town council: do something for election year.
Change all rural roads to 70 km/h maximum. Drop it to 60 or 50 in the areas where you have already set it at 70.
But no rural line or concessions should have 80 km/h speed limits. It is not worth the risk of an accident causing injury or even death.
I would even go so far as to suggest that if there was ever a serious incident in one of the 80 km/h zones, the town could be liable due to the speed not being properly set based on the conditions of the roads.
Do not drag your feet any longer on this possible life-saving change.