Sunshine Coast Speed Watch is recommending a drop in the speed limit on Beach Avenue in Roberts Creek to 30 km/h.
The 3.5-km-long roadway “is attractive and has many attributes as a neighbourhood, but as an urban 50 km/h right-of-way it falls far short,” Speed Watch coordinator Jon Hird concluded in a Jan. 7 report to the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) transportation advisory committee.
The volunteer group conducted an informal road test last month on Beach Avenue, between Roberts Creek Road and Margaret Road. Recorded in both directions using a dash-mounted video camera, the maximum speed attained was 40 km/h, while “speeds of 25 to 35 km/h were typical and considered more appropriate for most of the journey,” Hird said in his report.
“This section of roadway can be characterized as narrow, winding and well used by all transportation modalities,” he said. “Noted hazards, both real and potential, include a dozen or more blind curves, concealed driveways, oncoming vehicles failing to keep right, narrow or nonexistent shoulders, pedestrians and cyclists of all ages and skill levels, skateboarders, bus and truck traffic, animals, a picnic/play area, Camp Douglas and Sun Haven School.”
The four-minute drive can be viewed on YouTube at www.youtube.com/nhrboy.
“What emerges is that 50 km/h is not an appropriate speed for that street,” Hird told the committee. “Some drivers adjust accordingly, but not everyone.”
Don Legault, area manager for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, said a decision to reduce the speed limit on Beach Avenue would have to come from Victoria.
“It will have to go a lot higher than myself,” he said.
With Beach Avenue designated as a collector road for the area, “I would be surprised if they do,” he added.
Roberts Creek director Donna Shugar said she would discuss the Speed Watch recommendation with people in the community.
“I will see what research I can do and bring it back,” Shugar said.
Last month, Speed Watch flagged speeding within the school zone at Sun Haven Waldorf School on Beach Avenue as a persisting problem. Hird said the level of non-compliance dropped from 25 per cent in October to 17 per cent in November, but was back up to 21 per cent in December.
Hird said one possible explanation is that the school zone is a relatively short one, with signs posted closely together.
While committee members discussed the relative merits of school zone signs (in force from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days) versus playground signs (in force year-round from dawn till dusk), Const. Todd Bozack of the RCMP’s Sunshine Coast Traffic Services suggested signage was not the primary issue.
Bozak said he had pulled over a driver that morning for speeding at double the limit in a school zone on Chaster Road, and the driver was a school teacher.
“These people are aware of the zone. I find personally that people I stop in a school zone are more than aware of the zone, but they’re not there, they’re not thinking,” Bozak said.
The committee also heard that ICBC has started to develop a new education campaign focused on vulnerable road users, which could roll out in the fall. The campaign was conceived after a series of vehicle-pedestrian and vehicle-cyclist collisions in the Lower Mainland, ICBC road safety coordinator Tom Webster said at the meeting.