Cars race past a speed limit sign on Second Avenue in Whitehorse on April 21. Whitehorse city council has confirmed a study will be done looking at the possibility of a speed reduction throughout the downtown from the current 50 km/h to 40 km/h. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Speed reduction study approved

Will explore the pros and cons of changing the speed limit throughout downtown

Whitehorse city council has confirmed a study will be carried out looking at the possibility of a speed reduction throughout the downtown from the current 50 km/h to 40 km/h.

Council voted in favour of spending $15,000 on the work at its April 27 meeting.

Coun. Samson Hartland made it clear, however, that his vote was only for the study to look at the possibility.

“This is simply a study, and not a foregone conclusion,” he said.

The proposal comes after a Second Avenue corridor study was completed earlier this year. At a council and administrative roundtable discussion about the corridor study, council members asked if there was anything that could be done immediately to address traffic issues on the city’s main thoroughfare.

City engineering manager Taylor Eshpeter put the potential speed reduction study forward as one action that could help address safety on the road, though he made it clear in his report to council it was just one small item that could be done more immediately. It was not seen as a full solution to the overall traffic issues on Second Avenue.

Council initially raised issues with the potential study. Coun. Dan Boyd and Hartland argued the way the proposed study was brought forward seemed to indicate the city was moving forward with the speed reduction. Rather, they noted they wanted the pros and cons of a potential speed reduction looked at in full detail, while Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu argued enforcement needs to be considered as well. A speed reduction would not be effective if there’s no enforcement, she said at the April 20 council meeting.

At the April 27 meeting in a summary report it was highlighted that in response to council’s questions it’s been confirmed the study would look at road geography, speed data, enforcement with an analysis around the pros and cons of a speed reduction.

Before voting in favour of the study going ahead, Boyd noted he’s pleased to see the changes with more of a focus on studying the matter.

Curteanu said she’s glad to see enforcement will now also be looked at as part of the study.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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