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Speed change coming to Front Street

Mayor Taso Christopher (right, with scissors) cuts the ribbon to officially open the first part of the newly-revitalized Front Street. Councillors in the front row, from left: Kelly McCaw, Mitch Panciuk, Jack Miller, Jackie Denyes, Egerton Boyce (right of Christopher) and Garnet Thompson. Photo by Joseph Quigley, QNet News

Mayor Taso Christopher (right, with scissors) cuts the ribbon to officially open the first part of the newly-revitalized Front Street on Thursday, Dec. 3rd 2015. Councillors in the front row, from left: Kelly McCaw, Mitch Panciuk, Jack Miller, Jackie Denyes, Egerton Boyce (right of Christopher) and Garnet Thompson. Photo by Joseph Quigley, QNet News

By Justin Medve [1]

BELLEVILLE — City council will be lowering the speed limit on Front Street to 30 km/h, in an effort to make Belleville’s downtown core more welcome to foot traffic.

The change will take place between Dundas Street East and Pinnacle Street.

Motorists will soon have to adjust their driving habits from the previous 50 km/h cap.

The issue, brought up in a Traffic Advisory Committee [2] meeting, stemmed from a request by the Belleville Downtown Improvement Area [3]. It was then raised at council this Monday [4].

The motion was debated, with five councillors voting for the change and four against.

Councillor Jack Miller [5] tried to negotiate a 40 km/h limit instead, saying most drivers would be over the limit the moment they touch their gas pedal. But he said he did understand the reasoning behind the change.

“We want a pedestrian friendly downtown. We’ve widened the sidewalks . . . and I think a 40 kilometre limit would make sense in that respect,” he said.

Councillor Paul Carr [6] agreed with Miller’s suggestion.

“If we want people to window shop, they should be out of their vehicle and walking on the sidewalks,” he said.

Miller also brought up a report where the TAC didn’t see downtown speeding as an issue, but Councillor Mitch Panciuk [7] reminded him the report was made before Build Belleville [8] construction entered its first phase.

Panciuk said he thought the change should be made once revitalization is complete. He said traffic is already slow and cited citizen reports of overwhelming signage.

Mayor Taso Christopher [9]was fully behind the 30 km/h change, saying it would be another step in the right direction for the downtown environment the city is trying to create.

“We’ve created an ambiance and a community down there. We need to slow the traffic down,” he said. “For the investment we’re making in people and pedestrians, it’s the right thing to do.”

Norm Caverly of the Belle Pub [10] told QNet News that motorists may find the change inconvenient, but says he thinks it will pay off in the end.

“People don’t like the inconvenience, but they should also think of the benefits. Once the inconvenience is done, the benefits help everybody,” he said.

Anyone who would like to give their take on the matter will have the chance to do so before council’s next meeting [11] on March 29th.

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