One of the great perks of living in a small town is the lack of traffic during the daily commute. Even during the peak rush hour in Pincher Creek, a person can drive from one end of town to the other in about seven minutes (plus or minus three minutes, depending on how many deer were encountered).
That said, issues of speeding, trucking and parking have serious ramifications for public safety. All three topics were brought up during town council’s Sept. 26 regular meeting.
After a concerned citizen’s delegation at the Sept. 12 council meeting brought up motorists speeding down Broadview Street, administration recommended installing a radar speed sign along the street.
The town currently has two signs located at Hewetson Avenue and Victoria Crescent; since the signs are moveable, additional posts were installed at Christie Avenue and Bev McLachlin Drive.
As part of the 2022 capital budget, two more radar signs were purchased at a total cost of $8,174.25. With the signs recently arriving, the matter of where to install them was brought before council.
Locations previously suggested for the signs include Beaver Drive, Schofield Street, Hewetson Drive, Kettles Street and Robinson Avenue. Back in 2018, the police advisory committee recommended installing the signs near Matthew Halton High School and St. Michael’s School.
In total, 13 different locations were provided for council to deliberate on.
Rather than weigh the options during the meeting, Coun. Mark Barber suggested the recommendations go before the police advisory committee for a decision. The committee is made up of council members, members of the public, and RCMP and bylaw officers.
Allowing the committee to make a decision, Barber said, would put the signs where they’re needed most now, while adding more signs would always be an option in the future.
“I don’t have a problem if we have to purchase another sign to help slow down the traffic,” he said.
Coun. Wayne Oliver agreed having the advisory committee make the decision would be prudent, though he suggested the current signage on Broadview Street was in need of some attention.
“I was doing a little reconnaissance prior to the meeting, and the speed sign as you come into town is extremely faded. You can’t even read the word ‘Maximum,’ ” he said. “We probably should take care of that right away.”
Council voted in favour of sending the matter to the police advisory committee, as well as directing administration to replace the speed limit sign on Broadview Street.
As part of efforts to save on energy costs, the flashing lights along Highway 6 warning drivers of the Main Street intersection were also discussed.
Although Alberta Transportation has jurisdiction over the lights, since the highway conditions do not meet provincial standards for such indicator lights the town pays the energy costs, about $1,800 a year.
Since the lights technically are not needed, the suggestion to remove them was brought forward by the town’s energy project lead.
The issue, said CAO Laurie Wilgosh, was that even though they are not required by regulation, the town could still potentially be liable if an accident occurred after the warning lights were removed.
“If we took them out and there ever was an accident, we might be called upon to give background and proof of why we felt it was necessary to remove them, and I’m not sure that saving $2,000 would be an adequate response in that case,” Wilgosh said.
“We could be held liable because it’s been there and truckers have been aware of it and depend on it.”
The lights also provide a measure of safety for pedestrians crossing Highway 6, added Coun. Sahra Nodge.
“It’s really hard to cross the highway in the crosswalk time, so the more indication we can give drivers that there’s a significant intersection coming up is probably better,” she said.
Council voted in favour of leaving the warning lights as they currently stand.
Coun. David Green rounded out the traffic discussion by bringing up a request from residents on Dupuy Street to post No Parking signs at the cul de sac at the east end of the street.
“When there are vehicles parked in the cul de sac, there is virtually no room for a normal vehicle to turn,” Green said, adding that one of the residents had told him the fire chief and bylaw officer had been by to investigate and said the number of parked cars also posed a problem for emergency service vehicles.
“There’s just an access concern, and this issue has been raised now for two or three months and hasn’t gone anywhere, so that’s why I’m bringing it forward,” Green said.
While not disputing that parking was a problem, no information of a visit from emergency services to the cul de sac had been communicated to administration. Instead of making an immediate decision, Nodge said it would be best to table the issue until administration could come back with more information.
“There’s several houses in that area that don’t have driveways, so I think there’s some different considerations that I’d like to hear about before making a decision about this,” she added. “I think this has cascading impacts for different residents.”
Council directed administration to follow up with emergency services and bring back more information at a future meeting.
The next town council meeting is the committee of the whole meeting, which takes place Wednesday, Oct. 5, 9 a.m. in council chambers.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze