INNISFAIL – The town is finally reducing speeds along Lakewood Drive.
The kilometre-long, 70 kilometre an hour (km/h) speed limit on the roadway’s far west end will be reduced to 60 km/h, and eastward past the Aspen Heights subdivision at that speed until the 56th Street intersection where it will be decreased again from its current 60 km/h speed to 50 all the way into downtown.
The decision to reduce the speed limits at the town’s busy east-west roadway, which leads to Highway 54 in the west, and to Innisfail’s downtown core in the east, was made at council’s June 14 regular meeting.
The speed limit issue and accompanying noise has been a longstanding concern for residents of Aspen Heights, noted deputy mayor Don Harrison, who was chairing the meeting as mayor Jim Romane was absent for a brief vacation.
“I think this will reduce the noise concerns because we will have one speed limit all the way down Lakewood Drive,” said Harrison, noting the current sudden shift of speeds from 70 to 60 km/h near the Aspen Heights neighbourhood was behind complaints of irritating vehicular noise. “This also alleviates the concerns to the entrance of Aspen Heights where there has been some near misses and accident concerns. It eliminates the noise issue, and also the traffic safety issue.”
The Lakewood Drive speed limit issue was brought to council by Gary Leith, the town’s manager of fire and protective services. He presented council with a motion to reduce the 70 km/h speed limit between Highway 54 and 56th Street to 60 km/h, and again on Lakewood Drive between 56 and 50 streets to 50 km/h.
“Administration have received several concerns regarding excessive speeds and potential hazard that the current posted speed presents,” said Leith. He told council that additional lighting at the Aspen Heights subdivision intersection, an active speed sign, and regular Joint Force Traffic (JFO) still resulted in public concerns over excessive speed, noise related to transition zones and pedestrian safety.
“I think this is a good idea and I think this is the right option. This makes the most sense to me and this is what we should be doing,” said Coun. Danny Rieberger of Leith’s speed reduction proposal, which was passed unanimously by council.
Coun. Gavin Bates said while he agreed with Leith’s recommended plan, which he said was “very drivable," he wondered if there would be “transitional noise situation” for Anthony Henday Campground patrons as the speed at that point of Lakewood Drive will increase from 50 to 60 km/h for motor vehicle operators heading west.
Leith replied he was not aware of any complaints from the campground, but that issue will be reviewed.
He told council signage on Lakewood Drive will be changed as soon as town staff is able to do so. He said there would be public notification of the new speed limits.