Parents push for lowering Lewes Blvd speed limit

Representatives from two school councils in Riverdale are asking the City of Whitehorse to review the speed limit on Lewes Boulevard.

Representatives from two school councils in Riverdale are asking the City of Whitehorse to review the speed limit on Lewes Boulevard.

Janet Clarke and Liza Mannen addressed members of council at Monday evening’s meeting to voice their concerns.

They said their previous requests to have the speed limit on the northbound lane of Lewes Boulevard reduced to 30 km/hr from the current 50 km/hr have been ignored.

“In Sept. 2014 we sent a letter to the city’s street sign and traffic committee asking them to consider changing the speed limit,” said Clarke, co-chair of the F.H. Collins Secondary School Council.

“We also asked the committee to look into turning back the vegetation to give drivers a better view of pedestrians as they walk across the road. We also asked for the possibility of installing lights at that crosswalk.

“But in Oct. 2014 we received an illogical and very unhelpful response stating our concerns must be related to the construction of the new school.”

The new F.H. Collins building has been built and the problems have persisted, Clarke said.

In the fall of 2015 another letter was sent, along with one from Selkirk Elementary School’s council, asking that this issue be looked at again.

At a Nov. 18 meeting of the Whitehorse Street Sign and Traffic Committee, the issue was discussed and Clarke said she received a follow-up e-mail stating the hospital and the Riverdale Community Association would need to be consulted before any review could take place.

“Neither of these associations will have veto with regards to student safety,” Clarke said.

A parent sent an e-mail in December stating they’d almost hit a child who was crossing the busy road one morning, she added.

“F.H. council feels this issue has dragged on for far too long and there has been little to no action taken,” Clarke said.

Liza Mannen, chair of the Selkirk Elementary School Council, said she takes the matter to heart, having already lost a child in the past.

She said another source of frustration was seeing the speed limit near Elijah Smith Elementary School set at 30 km/hr on either side of Hamilton Boulevard.

Mayor Dan Curtis said he sympathized with the delegates but added that it wasn’t the only spot in Whitehorse where close calls have taken place.

“It’s challenging when we have a city of speeders,” he said. “Second Avenue is like the freeway of the Yukon. We take this very seriously.”

Curtis asked City Manager Christine Smith whether she knew if the street sign and traffic committee had any jurisdiction to change the speed limits in school zones. Smith replied that she didn’t know.

Whitehorse RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Natasha Dunmall said the City can set a speed zone enforceable by the bylaw department. But for the RCMP to enforce a speed limit a change would need to be made by the Yukon government under the territory’s Motor Vehicle Act.

She added the Riverdale Community Association is responsible for the creation of the divider and trees along Lewes Boulevard in that area.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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