ATHABASCA — Town of Athabasca councillors have opted to begin monitoring and enforcing the speed limit on 48th Street after an initial request to reduce the speed limit was submitted by the Athabasca & District Senior Citizens Society in May of this year.
During the Nov. 7 regular meeting, councillors voted 6-0 — mayor Rob Balay was absent — to direct admin to have 48th Street, between 47th and 49th Avenues, monitored and enforced for speed, and to send a letter to the Athabasca and District Senior Citizens Society advising them of the decision. A second motion to refer a discussion around the purchase and installation of digital speed signs to upcoming budget discussions was carried 5-1, with Coun. Sara Graling opposed.
“There haven’t been any real traffic studies done,” said Balay. “We didn’t feel there was enough support to warrant the changing of (the speed limit). We felt that just by enforcing the speed limit that is posted was the right thing to do for now.
“If our peace officer comes back and tells us something different, then we’ll consider it again at another time,” he added.
The original request from the Senior Citizens Society was submitted April 18 by president Bob Spencer, and notes traffic concerns were a topic of discussion at a society AGM.
“48 Street is a busy street. It is used by large numbers of vehicles and pedestrians attending functions and activities in the area,” wrote Spencer. “We believe that a 30 kilometre speed limit would greatly enhance the safety of the individuals who either reside on or use the facilities along 48 Street.”
Councillors reviewed the request during their May 2 meeting, when a motion to defer the topic to the 2023 council retreat was carried unanimously. After discussing the item during retreat, held in October, councillors decided to consider purchasing digital speed signs as a deterrent.
A quote for portable digital signs from Barricades and Signs Traffic Professionals was included in the agenda package, which put the cost for one sign at $4,065.62. “We might look at purchasing a couple for now to see how effective they are and go from there,” said Balay.
Speed monitoring began after the initial request was received, and while Ramey informed councillors only one vehicle travelling at 57 kilometres per hour was recorded, Coun. Ida Edwards noted the enforcement presence has acted as a deterrent.
“There’s a lot of coffee shop talk about the bylaw officer being out there and getting people to slow down, so people are being more aware of their speed,” said Edwards.