What to do with Scona Road?

On April 28th, I voted in favour of increasing the speed limit on Scona Road from 50 km/h to 60 km/h.

For me, three issues were in play:

1. Our Transportation Department told us that Scona Road is designed for a speed limit of up to 70 km/h, and there would be no safety concerns associated with raising the limit to 60 km/h.

2. Scona Road has become a lightning rod for the issue of photo radar based on the number of tickets recently mailed to motorists. This resulted in the inquiry made by Councillor Bryan Anderson.

3. The surrounding communities have long been concerned with speeding on 99th street (south of Scona Road), and worry that increasing the speed limit on Scona Road will increase the speed of traffic in their neighbourhood

I found little hard evidence to confirm that increasing the speed limit to better align with the design of Scona Road would in fact increase speeding or pedestrian risk on 99th street south of Saskatchewan Drive. I was not convinced that one impacts the other in this circumstance.

In Ward 10 Belgravia Road is 60 km/h on the non-residential stretch. It becomes 50 km/h as it runs through Parkallen and McKernan because of on-street parking. I have not heard any concerns about speeding on this roadway.

The fundamental problem I see on 99th street is that we have a busy four lane arterial roadway pushing traffic through one of our most desirable mature communities. This is why at the previous transportation committee, I put forward the following motion:

That Administration work with the affected communities to develop traffic safety and speed mitigation strategies including possible parking and High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes along 99 Street south of Saskatchewan Drive to Whyte Avenue and provide options to further enhance pedestrian safety at the Saskatchewan Drive, 99 Street and Scona Road intersection.

Leaving Scona Road at 50 km/h will not stop speeding on Scona Road; the median speed is presently 61.4 km/h. It will also not change the fact that 99th Street needs to be rethought. Regardless of past efforts, 99th Street requires a new strategy to reduce speeding and pedestrian risk.