By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG
The Village of Valemount’s Traffic and Transportation Committee requested council provide a letter of support of the committee’s proposal to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to lower the speed limit along Hwy 5 between the Best Western and Swift Creek bridge to 60 km/hr and implement a no passing zone in the area.
The Traffic and Transportation Committee is a public committee that includes a member of council, a Village staff member, and three members of the public who are voting members, as well as stakeholders that include a member of the RCMP and a representative of the Ministry.
Pearson said the committee has met twice since it was created and have worked to come up with easy initiatives to make the Highway 5 and 5th Avenue intersection safer.
He said because of the amount of exits and entrances on Highway 5, the committee decided to advocate for the removal of passing lanes
“They set you up for disaster because if somebody is slowing down to make that turn, somebody two cars back might not see a signal light and pull around,” Pearson said.
He said he’s usually the last person to advocate for lower speed limits, but it was “low hanging fruit” to address safety concerns on the highway.
“The bigger scope of things and what to do with traffic and the situation with a whole corridor. It’s going to be a challenge,” Pearson said.
He said the Ministry is usually receptive to simple fixes and adjusting the speed limit and changing the lines on the road to a double solid would be easy for the ministry to implement.
Pearson said other initiatives the committee will be advocating for is more attention to line painting and changing the no parking signs on Karas Drive to no stopping signs.
According to Pearson this change is to increase enforcement to cut down on the amount of semi trucks parked along the road.
“A no-parking ticket is like $40. A no stopping ticket is a traffic infraction and the level of enforcement steps up,” he said.
Something Pearson is also pushing for is an active transportation lane — a four-foot wide green painted lane specifically for pedestrians and cyclists — along Karas Drive from 5th Avenue to 7th Avenue.
“My long term goal and I promote it everywhere, even our official community plan, is active transportation. I walk and I bike as well and Karas Drive is a nightmare,” Pearson said.He said infractions along active transportation lanes are enforceable by police.