City of Salmon Arm councillors were unanimous in their approval of temporary measures to slow traffic on Fifth Street SW between Blackburn Park and the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds.
Rob Niewenhuizen, director of engineering and public works, was asked to provide an informational report at the June 17 meeting when council reviewed a May 5 letter from Kailey Cannon and 10 others, expressing concern about the frequency of speeding along that portion of the road.
Niewenhuizen explained that the Blackburn master plan calls for improvements to Fifth Street SW that include the addition of a boulevard down the centre of the roadway, bump outs, parking stalls and a traffic circle to help slow traffic through the area.
“These road amenities have not been built as the development of the park has been a phased approach, with the primary focus being on completing the park infrastructure: skateboard park, play structures, soccer fields, splash park, life trail system, etc.,” he said in his report. “There has been a noticeable increase in park usage with the opening of the new Rotary spray park this year.”
Niewenhuizen says this has put a strain on the existing on-street parking as the roadway is not entirely paved; which creates a problem with vehicles parking in different angles along the gravel portions of the road.
This issue was reviewed by the City’s Traffic Safety Committee on June 8, said Niewenhuizen, pointing out there are future plans for park entrance gates, build outs and other improvements based on the Blackburn master plan.
As well as the RCMP raising awareness on the road, Citizens on Patrol may be asked to set up Speed Watch in summer and the use of the city’s speed reader board is being considered.
“Staff have reviewed several possible traffic-calming options for this location, keeping in mind that a more permanent solution will be developed when the roadway is properly designed and constructed in the future,” said Niewenhuizen, noting the plan proposes the temporary installation of “no-post” barriers and speed bumps, along with appropriate signage. “Staff feel that this solution will provide a narrowing of the roadway which will assist in raising driver awareness along this section of Fifth Street SW.”
The speed bumps will be removed each fall to allow for snow-clearing operations and replaced in the spring of each year.
The costs associated with this temporary installation are in the range of $15,000.
City staff plan to take a request forward to the 2018 capital budget for a detailed design for this section of road, complete with sidewalks, curb and gutter street lighting etc. in order to provide a more permanent solution.
Coun. Alan Harrison thanked Niewenhuizen for finding a suitable, temporary solution so quickly.
“This is acceptable to me because the purpose is to make the area safer,” he said. “We’ve done the play part, but not the road part; speed bumps will slow it down.”
Coun. Kevin Flynn agreed, acknowledging that although there are large signs at either end of the long stretch of road, by the time he gets to the middle he’s forgotten it’s a playground.