As speeding continues to be a problem in Grimsby, council has shot down one councillors attempt to slow things down.
Councillor Lianne Vardy has championed various traffic calming measures over the last few meetings, including reducing the speed limit on Roberts Road to 40 km/h, effective later this year.
At the Sept. 18 meeting, council heard her latest motion, which sought to reduce speed townwide to 40 km/h as part of the 2024 budget.
In her motion, Vardy claims there have been eight car vs. pedestrian/cyclist accidents (one resident per month) as of August 2023.
“This is not the answer to all of our traffic problems. But this is one tool in a series of things that need to be done,” she said. “Grimsby is a town where a significant number of our streets have no sidewalks. So children and people walking their dogs and whatever, they have to walk on the street … I mean, for me it’s an absolute no-brainer, particularly when we don’t have sidewalks and (other municipalities are) doing it.”
However, as the town is set to complete its Transportation Master Plan next year, many councillors felt this motion was jumping the gun, and that speed issues would be dealt with in that plan.
“I don’t think any of us don’t want to advocate for safe neighbourhoods, it’s just more about how we go about doing it,” said Coun. Jacob Baradziej. “Personally, I just don’t want to let politics get in the way of engineering and our staff experts. I advocate that we go through the master plan and deal with it there.”
Coun. Nick DiFlavio echoed Baradziej’s comments, and said the subject of speeding needs a comprehensive approach.
While Coun. Jennifer Korstanje agreed that there is a process that should be followed, she said in this case that process is taking too long.
“One resident a month is getting hit by a car and there is one car accident,” she said. “Here is the resident safety data that we need to be looking at first at this point. In another 12 months when we finish the plan … are 12 more residents going to be hit by cars? We’ve missed the boat on this. Yes. A transportation master plan would be ideal, but that should have been done a while ago. We’re at the point now where I can’t justify looking at speed data over residents safety data.”
Vardy agreed, and said in the past she’s brought forward similar ideas and was always told there was no money, and that’s why she’s asking for it to be part of budget deliberations next year.
“At a certain point, it’s time for action and not more mulling things over things,” she said.
Coun. Veronica Charrois was thinking about town staff, and how throwing something else on their plates would be frustrating for them.
“For me, this is a process issue,” she said. “(Staff are) already behind, and I feel like every time that we have these things that we throw on their plate, then everything gets pushed back.”
When it came time to vote, Vardy asked for a recorded vote “so that the 12 people who get hit know it’s a process issue.
Ultimately, her motion was defeated, with Couns. Baradziej, Delight Davoli, DiFlavio, Don Howe, and Charrois voting against. Couns. Vardy, Korstanje, Reg Freake, and mayor Jeff Jordan voted in favour.
By Abby Green, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Sep 20, 2023 at 12:49