At the December 19th Council meeting, Mayor Muench requested a discussion item regarding the speed limit on Main Street East of 10th Avenue. The current speed is 40km/hr and through the discussion, it was agreed that Council would like that limit increased. Joe Doxey, Director of Infrastructure and Planning, informed Council that his department was working on a review of the speed limits on Martensville’s arterial roadways, including Centennial Drive, Main Street, 10th Avenue and 9th Street North. Details on this were then presented to Council at the January 9th Committee of the Whole meeting.
The research began with staff establishing an arterial grid that is both predictable and identifiable. “These roads should be intuitive and predictable so a driver will already gravitate to driving an appropriate speed,” Doxey explained. Doxey continued to explain that the majority of drivers are in general reasonable and travel at a speed which can prevent accidents. Of course reasonable speed can vary dependent on time of day, weather, road conditions and types of vehicles. “Another method we use is a little more of an academic method and follows from the Transportation Association of Canada, Canadian Guidelines for Establishing Posted Speed Limits publishing in 2009. This method follows an evaluation of the road classification, function, physical characteristics and risks of the roadway,” said Doxey.
The reason for this research was due to changes in the areas surrounding the arterial roadways in question, with population increases and roadway improvements. The construction of the traffic circle located at the Main Street and 10th Avenue intersection modified the functionality of that particular roadway. “They are both arterial classed roadways and are very contiguous in their flow with the traffic circle completion. In following recommendations from the Transportation Master Plan, and the Traffic Policy to develop more consistency in speed limits along the arterial road corridors, administration performed the evaluation and determined the most consistent upper limit that would work for the entire arterial roadway grid,” Doxey added. The review included Centennial Drive as well, with the thought process in mind to ensure that frequent speed zone changes could be avoided to prevent confusion and loss of respect for the posted limits. “The idea is that drivers are able to absorb and respond to so much information at one time. Speed zones should not be less than 500 metres but should be longer as they posted speed increases where possible.”
This research and investigation is a common need in communities with population increases and as population continues to increase within Martensville in future years, there will be a need to re-evaluate speeds to make arterial road grids as predictable as possible for drivers. “Administration will continue to evaluate the speeds as roadside elements change the risk equation. Numbers of intersections, obstacles in the clear zone, pedestrian activity all play a role.” Doxey also noted that posting too low of a speed can sometimes create an unnecessary burden on law enforcement and can lead to a lack of credibility or compliance with drivers.
Dust control was one concern mentioned during the January 9th meeting, as a section of 10th Avenue North, which is currently posted as 40km/hr, is gravel. Previously, this roadway was used as a seasonal road which had not been built to gravel standard and therefore, wasn’t able to support a higher speed limit. Last year, this portion received improvements with additional gravel and dust control product, which helps with Council’s decision of increasing speed along this stretch without seeing much negative impact.
Council was all in favor of working to keep a unified speed limit on roadways, rather than having numerous varied limits. After lengthy discussion, it was recommended that speed limits would be posted as:
– Centennial Drive remains at 50km/hr
– Main Street from Centennial Drive to 8th Avenue would remain 40km/hr
– Main Street from 8th Avenue to 10th Avenue would increase to 50km/hr
– Main Street from 10th Avenue to 16th Avenue would increase to 60km/hr
– 10th Avenue from Main Street to 9th Street North would increase to 60km/hr
– 10th Avenue from Main Street to South Industrial would decrease to 60km/hr
A motion was brought forward at the January 16th meeting and received formal approval. It was at this meeting that City Manager Scott Blevins made mention that Joe Doxey has resigned from his position with the City of Martensville and that his last day would be February 2nd. The Martensville Messenger would like to thank Doxey for all of his hard work and dedication within his role and we wish him the best of luck with future endeavors. “I will really miss this place. I’ve gotten a chance to work with some really sharp people that have challenged me and I’ve also been really fortunate to get to be able to be a part of all the background studies and projects going on in Martensville.” said Doxey.