CREMONA - The Village of Cremona is looking for ways to increase safety at the busy Highway 22 and Highway 580 intersection, and in particular as it relates to motorists not slowing down to the posted limit at the site, says the village's chief administrative officer Karen O’Conner.
Council had proposed increasing the size of signage on Highway 22 to better inform drivers of the need to slow from 100 kilometres an hour (km/h) to 80 km/h to 60 km/h at the junction of the highways.
Unfortunately, the village was recently informed that larger signage will not be an option.
“Consistency in applying these signs sizes provincially provides motorists with an expected standard, which helps ensure that speed signs are recognized regardless of the community that the highway passes through,” Michael Baik, operations manager - Red Deer District, with Transportation and Economic Corridors said in a letter to the village.
The letter was received and reviewed by council at the recent regularly scheduled meeting.
The standard use of oversize signs is reserved for high-speed, multi-lane divided highways (110 km/h speed limit) as greater sign visibility due to speeds and volume is necessary on those highways, he said.
“While we do understand your concern, we have also found that the overuse of traffic control devices, including sign sizing, may cause their reduced effectiveness and that the correct method of correcting speeding concerns at this location should be through enforcement and not engineering.”
The village may want contact the Didsbury RCMP detachment “to request additional speed enforcement” at the site, he said.
The letter from Baik came in response to an earlier letter sent to the department by Coun. Jody Dick outlining concerns vis-a-vis speeding at the junction.
“There has been many comments and concerns regarding the speed of traffic through the village at Highway 22 and Highway 580,” said Dick. “I share those concerns.
“The problem is few motorists are following the posted limits. I would like to suggest larger 60 km/h signs in hopes of gaining more attention to the travelling public.
“This would be an inexpensive change over from the regular size signs to larger ones and hopefully alleviate some of the issues. I understand that there will always be those who don’t follow posted limes regardless of the size of sign or the number of flashing lights.”
At the direction of council, the village's chief administrative officer is current examining possible solutions to the speeding concerns.
“We got shut down (by the department) and they won’t let us get bigger signage put up,” said O’Connor. “We are not giving up on the issue and we are still looking for avenues because of the safety concerns.
“We do have the (crosswalk) lights on Highway 22 but people are still not feeling 100 per cent secure about walking across.”
One avenue being examined is the possibility of placing battery-operated signs at the location that flash when motorists are over the posted speed, she said.
“That might get people’s attention, but then of course that comes with cost,” she said. “We haven’t given up and we are still doing some research. We might not have a choice but to spend a little bit.”
Residents of the trailer park on the west side of the highway are particularly concerned with the speed of vehicles moving through the intersection, she said.
“Ninety-seven per cent of the residents in the trailer park are seniors,” she said. “There is a big percentage of those seniors who do not drive, so they are the ones who feel they can’t get across fast enough. There are even a couple ladies there who simply refuse to walk there anymore.”
O’Connor says she will be reporting back to council on the matter at future council meeting.