Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors have agreed to support the request for a speed limit drop along a one-kilometre stretch of Beach Avenue.
Directors voted at the April 28 transportation advisory committee meeting to ask the province to reduce the mandatory speed limit to 30 km/h on Beach Avenue between Roberts Creek Road and Cedar Grove Road.
Currently, Beach Avenue is posted at 50 km/h, but two S-curves along the disputed stretch are marked in one direction with 30 km/h suggested speeds.
“I wouldn’t be prepared at this point to ask for 30 km for all of Beach Avenue, but that section is already suggested,” Roberts Creek director Donna Shugar said at the meeting.
Prior to the recommendation, Beach Avenue resident Bill Page said a petition requesting the change came out of a community discussion on a proposed gravel path for the same stretch of Beach Avenue.
Page said residents are concerned that the path could lead to increased speeding, due to the segregation of pedestrians to one side of the road.
“It’s a very busy stretch that’s used by a large number of people,” Page said. “We feel that too many cars are going too fast on it and we’re concerned that 50 km as it’s posted now poses a danger to pedestrians in the case of a collision.” Particularly for seniors, he said, “It’s better at 30 km in terms of survivability in a crash.”
Page said he drove the stretch three times at various speeds and the maximum time added to the trip by slowing to 30 km/h was 23 seconds.
He also noted that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) had set a precedent in Roberts Creek by lowering the maximum speed to 30 km/h for 600 metres on Krause Road, in response to complaints by residents.
MOTI area manager Don Legault said the Beach Avenue decision would be in the hands of MOTI’s chief highway engineer in Victoria.
“Based on caller history, I would be very surprised if it does happen,” Legault said.
He said the Motor Vehicle Act sets 50 km/h as the urban speed limit and changing that would depend on factors such as collision history and traffic volume.
MOTI’s final say in the matter irked District of Sechelt alternate director Doug Hockley, who said it was obvious that some Beach Avenue residents are afraid to walk in their own neighbourhood.
“I find it incredible that we’re so indoctrinated in what the Ministry wants,” Hockley said.
In a written submission, Page and resident Gillian Kydd called for formal recognition of the one-km Beach Avenue section as a shared space and said the proposed 1.5-metre-wide path would not be wide enough to accommodate typical traffic.
Shugar said staff will present a full report on design options for the pathway at the May 8 community services meeting.
© Coast Reporter