A decision to increase the speed limit on Commonage Road in Vernon has been met by heavy criticism from local residents.
Vernon city council decided four votes to three to bump the speed limit from 60 to 70 km/h at the Nov. 12 regular meeting.
Since then, residents have created an online petition to oppose the city’s decision. The petition was started by Jolene McLellan, a resident who posted it on Thursday along with a rationale.
“A speed limit increase on Commonage Road is a clear safety concern for those that reside on and regularly travel on Commonage Road,” McLellan’s post read. “There are numerous blind spots where we feel the speed limit should, in fact, (be) reduced to 50 km/h to reduce the amount of collisions and injuries.”
So far, the petition has garnered 103 signatures, many of whom added comments explaining their reasoning. Their comments all echo the same concern: the road is already dangerous at its current speed and raising the limit will only give speeders more leeway.
“I do not support increasing the speed limit here,” Inge Friesen said. “There are so many problematic sight lines along this road, including the intersection of Bench Row Road and Commonage Road, which is already an immense safety concern at the current speed limit.”
The speed change will apply to a 724-metre stretch of Commonage Road, just after the Bench Row Road intersection heading southwest to the city’s boundary.
Ken Koebernick is a resident on Mission Road, which connects to Commonage Road. He questions why the city would want to increase the speed on less than one kilometre of the road.
“Why do they want to go 70 km/h in a 724-metre area? What do they want to gain from that? Isn’t safety the most important thing?”
Murray Neilson also lives on Mission Road, and in the 12 years he’s been there, he knows of three people who have been killed on the road and witnessed one of the crashes himself.
Neilson said the problems are twofold. For one, there’s poor visibility due to a dip in the road around driveways and compounding that concern is the tendency for drivers to speed.
“These guys are doing 70, 80, 90, and we’ve seen them doing up over 100,” Neilson said.
The limit change was moved by Coun. Scott Anderson, who reasoned Tuesday that the current speed of 60 km/h was being exceeded by most drivers.
“If no one obeys it, all it is is a speed trap,” he said.
Council’s decision has been forwarded to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.