The proposed speed limit change along Chilkoot Way, from 50 kilometres per hour to 30 km/h, passed first and second readings at city council on the evening of Sept. 25. The motion to move to the bylaw phase passed unanimously.
Due to construction on the road, the speed limit had been temporarily set to 30 km/h. The reduced speed limit will be permanent if the bylaw passes its third reading.
The motion was first shared during Whitehorse city council’s standing committee meeting last week, and no opposition to the proposal was raised.
The speed limit reduction along the two-way road connecting Two Mile Hill Road to Quartz Road is the latest development in the Chilkoot Greenway Plan, which calls for the construction of a two-way bicycle lane, reduced lane widths to encourage slower vehicular speeds and cyclist-friendly push-buttons, among other developments.
According to the City of Whitehorse’s resident engagement portal, the corridor improvement project aims to improve active transportation opportunities along the road and connect the Riverfront Trail with the Two Mile Hill pathway.
Prior to the vote to move the motion to first and second readings, councillors heard from Diana Rothgeb, organizer of a Chang.org petition calling for a halt to the Chilkoot Greenway project. She asked for the speed limit change to be postponed.
“The existing conditions and design elements that are in the Chilkoot Greenway, at the moment, I feel need to be readdressed and redesigned. Because of this, I feel that jumping the gun on implementing speed change is not required right at the moment,” said Rothgeb, who added that she would return for city council’s next meeting with more details.
The online petition organized by Rothgeb had garnered 222 signatures at press time.
Coun. Kirk Cameron took the opportunity to reference Rothgeb’s statement to council, calling it “very useful to have her perspective.”
Cameron said that while he is aware of the goals for the changes to Chilkoot Way, there might still be “pieces of the puzzle […] that haven’t been addressed yet.” He additionally noted that the council should remain aware of the perspectives of city residents and businesses that rely on the roadway.
“I’m inclined to support this, but at the same time, I think we need to have our eyes and ears open to figure out [if] are there other aspects of this that need to be adjusted to make this work for individuals who are living this every day,” said Cameron.
Contact Matthew Bossons at firstname.lastname@example.org