Invermere residents requesting speed control through family neighbourhood

Slowing down through Westside Park

A Westside Park family is pushing Invermere council to do something about speeding traffic in their neighbourhood.

Selena Garies wrote a letter to council, detailing the ongoing issue of vehicles ripping down 13th Avenue right by the Westside Park playground, imploring the district to do something about the issue before an accident occurs. Then Brendan and Bob Garies attended the Tuesday, September 12th council meeting to follow up and outline their concerns in person.

“We bought (in Westside Park) last August and we didn’t notice too many speeders in the fall, winter or spring, but this summer it’s been bad. It’s been a big increase. I’m not talking about people doing 40 (kilometres per hour) or 50, I’m talking about people doing 80 or 90. I’ve seen people passing on a double sold line right outside our house,” said Brendan, pointing out that the posted speed limit is 30 kilometres per hour. “There are some tourists, yes, but there are also a lot of blue plates (B.C. licence plates). It’s a lot of locals too.”

Brendan added that there is a fence along the park facing the road, but pointed out, “it’s not a complete fence. There are gaps, and it really wouldn’t take much for a local kid to run out there.”

Invermere chief administrative officer Chris Prosser chimed in that the district occasionally downloads data from the radar-equipped flashing sign in the area that lets northbound drivers know how fast they are going, and that “speeds in that stretch of road have been shocking.”

During an RCMP update to Invermere council earlier this year, Columbia Valley RCMP Sergeant Bob Vatamaniuck had told council that one vehicle had been recorded going 120 kilometres per hour in that particular 30 kilometres per hour zone.

Council members discussed at length which options would best help reduce excessive speeding in the area, going over the advantages and disadvantages of speed bumps, temporary speed bumps, speed dips and stop signs.

Mr. Prosser mentioned that speed dips are actually more effective than speed bumps at slowing traffic in playgrounds and school zones, but added that there are roughly 30 to 40 “traffic calming measures” the district could employ.

Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft said that the residents of Westside Park will need to be formally consulted, in order to ensure the traffic calming measures will be widely accepted, citing an incident several years ago in which the district put up stop signs in the area, sparking anger from some Westside Park residents who felt they were unnecessary.

In the end council directed staff to look into the matter, and report back to council.

Bob Garies asked what kind of time frame this entailed, pointing out that sometimes consultation and “looking into things” can drag on for months, if not years.

“I think three months is a reasonable time,” responded Mr. Taft.

Mr. Garies had previously said that stop signs would likely be the quickest solution.

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