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Vernon’s Silver Star Road a ‘speedway’

Coun. Akbal Mund’s motion to reduce speed limit on Silver Star Road to 50 km/h defeated, 4-2
A Vernon councillor’s motion to reduce the speed limit along Silver Star Road to 50 km/hour was defeated during Monday’s regular council meeting. (Morning Star - file photo)

A Vernon councillor is convinced a local road that once helped people get to a now-abandoned nearby race track has become a speedway itself.

Coun. Akbal Mund was referring to Silver Star Road, where the speed limit was changed in 2022 to a consistent 60 kilometres/hour (excluding the 30 km/h school zone adjacent to BX Elementary) as part of the 2022 Silver Star Road multi-use pathway project. Up until then, the speed limit had been a mix of 50 and 60 km/along portions of the road.

Mund motioned at the regular meeting of council Monday, Feb. 27, to set the speed limit to a consistent 50 km/h.

“I don’t think 60 is safe for the amount of development going on along Silver Star Road,” said Mund, who lives in the Foothills adjacent to Silver Star Road. He also talked about the safety of the kids at the school, and at the western portion of the road near Butcher Boys where the Vernon SKY Volleyball Club is housed.

“I think we need to control that.”

The roadway, of course, takes skiers, snowboarders and nordic skiers to Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre and SilverStar Mountain Resort and, in the 1970s and ‘80s, people would take Silver Star Road to Tillicum Road –near what is now the Foothills development – then turn to head to Tillicum Raceway, or a small executive golf course and ski hill on the same property, along with community hot tubs.

Mund’s motion was supported by Coun. Kari Gares but defeated by a margin of 4-2 with Mayor Victor Cumming, and councillors Brian Guy, Teresa Durning and Brian Quiring opposed. Coun. Kelly Fehr was absent from the meeting.

“I’m not very comfortable with the motion,” said Guy. “We have a professional report in front of us recommending keeping the speed limit at 60.”

City transportation manager Ellen Croy told council the speed limit was reviewed in 2020-2021 and changed to 60 km/h as per Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) guidelines.

The analysis considered various road characteristics including horizontal and vertical alignments; pedestrian and cyclist exposure; pavement surface; roadside hazards; and the number of intersections with public and private access for driveways.

“Based on the above road characteristics and assessment results, the recommended speed limit on Silver Star Road was 60 km/h,” said Croy.

Speed data was also collected on Silver Star Road – before the speed limit was changed to 60 km/h – and Croy said the 85th percentile speeds were measured at 80 km/h (meaning 85 per cent of people driving on Silver Star Road drive 80 km/h or slower).

The measured 85th percentile speed, she said, is the industry standard used to gauge how motorists perceive the road.

“While the speed limit of 60 km/h aligns with TAC guidelines, it also aligns more closely with how motorists perceive the road,” said Croy, who added that staff has been in contact with the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP to conduct speed enforcement.

Croy said the city continues to work on Silver Star Road improvements, including the multi-use pathway being built now, installing vehicle-activated speed signs, centre medians at BX School and between Blackcomb Way and Phoenix Drive.

A roundabout is proposed for Phoenix Drive and Silver Star Road for construction in 2025.

If council wants to revisit the speed limit again, Croy recommends using a transportation engineering to consult. The cost would be around $15,000.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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