It seems silly to imagine that while it’s 50 kilometres/hour to drive through the sleepy community of Falkland, between Vernon and Kamloops, along Highway 97, the speed limit along Falkland’s side roads is 30 km/h higher.
Especially near the community’s lone school.
But, that is the case, as Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) Area D director Rene Talbot recently found out.
Talbot, who has lived in Falkland for nearly a half-century, was meeting with North Okanagan-Shuswap School District officials and the area representative for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) about putting up a possible school speed zone of 30 km/hour on Chase-Falkland Road for a two-and-a-half block stretch near Falkland Elementary School.
That’s when Talbot was told by the ministry that, as of now, the only 50 km/h zone is Highway 97 in both directions for about eight blocks. All of the rest of Falkland is 80 km/h.
“The ministry rep said if we get community support they would look at a blanket 50 km/hour zone,” said Talbot. “It’s ridiculous to have 80 km/h speed limits where everybody lives so we’re putting the pressure on the ministry. The 50 km/h blanket zone makes sense.”
Talbot received unanimous support for a blanket 50 km/h zone in Falkland from the CSRD board and the Falkland Community Association. He hopes to meet soon with the RCMP.
Falkland Elementary has about 120 students plus staff working in a kindergarten to Grade 8 configurement.
MOTI media relations spokesperson Danielle Pope said ministry engineers are reviewing Chase-Falkland Road for speed signage and to determine what zone is most appropriate for the area.
Pope said local ministry staff is working with the CSRD to define the proposed blanket speed limit area.
“Ministry engineers will then need to review all roads within the area to determine if 50km/h is safe and appropriate for each of these roads, before determining if a speed zone change will take place,” said Pope.
Ministry staff will also discuss any speed zone changes with the local RCMP if a speed zone change will occur.
As for the side roads being 80 km/h, Pope said there is no established speed zone on most side roads in the Falkland area. The zones fall under the statutory 80 km/h speed zone inroads outside of municipalities as per the Motor Vehicle Act.
“While the statutory speed limit is 80 km/h on many rural side roads, drivers are reminded to always drive to the conditions they encounter,” said Pope. “The statutory speed is the maximum and drivers must adjust speed to align with conditions.”
Statutory speed zones do not have a posted speed because they are not designed and curve tested with specific speeds in mind, said Pope.
“A significant investment of engineering resources is required to review and curve test roads to determine if a posted speed can be placed,” she said. “Posted speed zones will often include more than just speed zone signs, as curve and warning signs would also need to be reviewed as part of this process.”
More information on speed zones can be found on the ministry website’s FAQ here: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/popular-topics/faq.htm