KAMLOOPS - The government of B.C. is reviewing speed limits on longer stretches of provincial highways between communities, and will be seeking public input starting this November as part of the process.
Public input, along with information gathered through a technical review of provincial highways, will be considered to identify areas where speed-limit changes would be appropriate.
The initial technical review is already underway. This work includes an evaluation of the latest research from around the world, as well as specific characteristics of B.C. highways, such as travel speed, safety history and the volume and mix of traffic.
Public engagement is an important part of the speed-limit review, and British Columbians will be able to have their say on rural highway speed limits at public forums in communities around the province, as well as through social media and online feedback. Forums will be held in Kamloops, Chilliwack, Nanaimo, Prince George, Dawson Creek, Vancouver, Kelowna and Cranbrook starting in November, with additional communities added as necessary.
At the same time, government will be seeking public input as it reviews how to reduce the risk of wildlife-related crashes on rural provincial highways, and reviews how to best ensure the safe movement of slower vehicles.
The ministry will also be seeking input from the Union of B.C. Municipalities, ICBC, police and other key stakeholders. Practical recommendations from this review and a strategy for implementation will be ready in early spring 2014.
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone -
"This review will build on the good work done on speed limits over the years by involving the public in the discussion. We want to ensure those travelling on our highways can do so as safely and efficiently as possible, and we're interested in what British Columbians have to say as our review of speed limits and other important safety issues moves forward."
A backgrounder follows.
Public input sought on highway safety issues
Starting this November, British Columbians will have a say on various highway safety issues. The outcome of the review will be recommendations for speed-limit adjustments to longer sections of rural highway between communities, as well as recommendations related to improving vehicle flow and preventing wildlife-related collisions.
Initial technical work is underway. The public input component of the review will happen starting this November, with technical work completed through the winter and recommendations due in spring 2014.
?Public input will be sought on which highway corridors should be considered.
?The technical review includes an assessment of current travel speeds, safety history, highway alignment and traffic volume and mix.
?The review will also consider the feasibility of speed-management strategies such as seasonal speed limits and speed limits by vehicle type.
Slower Vehicles Review:
?Vehicles impeding other vehicles, (e.g. in the left lane, recreational vehicles, when towing, etc.) reduce the efficiency of the highway system and can cause driver frustration.
?Public input will be sought on what is considered a slow vehicle and corridors of concern.
?The review will examine various means of ensuring the safety of slower drivers while improving the efficiency of the highway. Best practices in signing, public education, enforcement and availability of pull-out facilities will be reviewed.
- Wildlife on the highway can pose a serious hazard to motorists in British Columbia.
- Public input will be sought on corridors of concern and areas where warnings could be enhanced.
- The review will identify practices that could be implemented to reduce wildlife collisions, and on which highway segments. Examples of key areas for examination include: advisory signs, wildlife-advisory speeds and the use of advanced technologies to detect and deter wildlife.
This review will build on the work done during the last review in 2003. Since 2003, the ministry has used the principles outlined in the report to make modifications to speed limits around the province including some increases on major highways such as Highway 1. The 2003 report is available on the ministry's website at: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/publications/eng_publications/speed_review/index.htm