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Repeal speed-limit change, Frankford Road residents urge Quinte West council

Quinte West council will request more information about the speed limit change, and will re-evaluate their process of changing speed limits. Photo by Nick Ogden, QNetNews.

Quinte West council decided Monday to request more information about the impact of a recent speed-limit change on Frankford Road, and to re-evaluate its process when changing speed limits. Photo by Nick Ogden, QNetNews

By Nick Ogden [1]

QUINTE WEST – The recent lowering of a speed limit on Frankford Road has residents up in arms and Quinte West [2] council promising to reconsider.

At Monday’s council meeting, Ron Keller and his wife, Robin, brought forward a petition of over 900 signatures of people unhappy about the speed having been lowered from 80 to 60 kilometres an hour on a 2.3-kilometre stretch of the road just west of the Trent River. Council lowered the speed in January because of safety concerns raised by Frankford Road residents.

The Kellers asked that council change the limit back to 80, saying the road is a key transportation route and not primarily for cyclists and pedestrians. The original speed is needed to keep traffic flowing smoothly, they said.

“This speed-limit change has created a lot of displeasure and conflict amongst residents who not only live on this road, but use it on a daily basis,” Ron Keller told councillors. “Many residents, including myself, find this change unnecessary.”

Keller said the lower speed limit has not addressed the problem of speeding on Frankford Road, a view that was backed up by Staff Sgt. Greg MacLellan of the Quinte West OPP, who was also at Monday’s meeting.

Changing the speed limit does not control speeders, MacLellan said, adding that people who speed will continue to do so regardless of what the posted limit is.

If council’s public works [3] committee requests more information to re-evaluate the speed-limit change, the OPP detachment will do all it can to help, he said.

Deputy Mayor Jim Alyea told the Kellers that the decision was not made lightly, and was based on facts from police reports. Councillor Duncan Armstrong, who initially voted for the change, said there had been a lack of communication between council and those unhappy with the lowered speed limit. He would be willing to reconsider his vote based on new information from the OPP, and believes other councillors would too, he said.

Several community members approached the podium to speak to the issue, both for and against the speed-limit change. Frankford Road resident Janice Carr, who started the original petition to lower the limit, said the reduced speed adds only two minutes to the commute of anyone using the road.

“The safety of the public is worth more than two minutes,” she told council as residents on the other side of the issue shook their heads and murmured, “No.”

After the meeting, Mayor Jim Harrison told QNet News that council had thought that lowering the speed was the right thing to do.

But in light of the new petition, council will review its process for making such changes, he said.

“The process was not as accurate as it should be, but I think we can rectify that to make sure that we are clear on how we arrived at that decision. If the process turns out to be acceptable, then fine. I want everybody to look at it carefully and make sure they’re satisfied.”

While a lower speed limit seemed like a good idea, Harrison said, “then you think, ‘Well, that road is built for 80 (kilometres). That’s what it was built for; it’s got wide shoulders, it’s got a centre line, and traffic does travel that road. If they travel at the correct speed, everything’s fine.’ “