Slowing down to prevent accidents

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure official shares plans to improve safety with Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors.

The speed limit will be reduced from 60 km/h to 50 on Blind Bay Road between Balmoral and Ingram during the busy tourist season

Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors are hoping a reduction in the speed limit on Blind Bay Road will improve safety this summer.

Directors discussed their concerns about the current 60-kilometre-per-hour speed limit on the particularly busy section of road between Balmoral Road and Ingram Road, as well as the paved parallel walking trail along Blind Bay Road at the Nov. 17 board meeting.

Following their discussion, CSRD chair Rhona Martin made a request for a speed reduction to 5o km/h on that section of the road and invited Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure district program manager Steve Sirett, to attend a future board meeting.

Sirett was at the Jan. 19 board meeting in Salmon Arm to speak to the issue of roads, signage and safety, and explain what MOTI plans to do to improve safety.

He told directors that a study done about this time last year concluded the problem is primarily in the summer months.

MOTI refreshed some signs, bringing them up to ministry standards, increased signage and installed distance tabs to warn drivers of pedestrian zones.

“There are certainly a lot of complaints, but the conflict drops in September,” he said, noting one recommendation was a seasonal speed zone through Blind Bay, something MOTI held off on while signage was addressed. “Engineering supported a seasonal speed zone that will reduce the speed to 50 km/h just before the May long weekend to until after the September long weekend when the most tourists are there.”

Sirett said posting signs is just one aspect of improving safety and suggested directors talk to the RCMP about enforcement to make sure people are respecting the signs.

Area C director Paul Demenok agreed the road is much busier in summer, but said with so much snow piled on the adjacent pedestrian walks people are walking on the road.

I am not sure walkways along the side of roads is a good idea,” he said.

Sirett applauded Area F director Rene Talbot’s suggestion of installing flashing, electronic reader boards to remind people of the speed limit and said MOTI can look into that.

Martin pointed out that Swansea Point in Area E has similar issues with traffic.

“Speed is an issue, but what is a greater issue is parking,” she said. “Someone called because sledders are parking near the firehall so when there’s an issue with an emergency, firefighters can’t get out.”

MOTI’s district transportation manager, Jack Bennetto was at the meeting and advised Martin that the ministry and CSRD staff are currently working on addressing the issue.


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