Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The North Road Issue

With continuing upgrades to Highway 72, the portion which passes through our village - called North Road - has caused problems for Beiseker residents.  Speeding is the most common problem, but other issues with drivers have been noted.

Village council has met with Alberta Transportation on several occasions to discuss this very issue.  Our last meeting was held almost a year ago, at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association convention. During that time, we devised a strategy to slow traffic down as it passed through our village.

Some of those changes have been have been done. Others are still waiting to be implemented.  I suspect that Alberta Transportation has had its hands full with the areas of the province affected by the June floods - so I think we have to be patient.

But, here's what we have already planned to do;
  1. Increase the number of painted and marked crosswalks from 2 to 3. This has been completed.
  2. Move the 50 km/h sign farther to the west, so the traffic has more time to slow down and will be at the 50 km/h speed limit as they pass by the Grasslands subdivision. This has not been completed.
  3. To place decreasing graduated lines on the highway in the "Slowdown Zones."  These painted lines visually draw the drivers' attention to their speeds.  This has not been completed.
  4. To increase the number of enforcement visits (speed traps) by both the RCMP and the Alberta Sheriffs' Highway PatrolThis has occurred.
  5. To examine the School Zone vs Playground Zone issue, and make adjustments to the signage as required.  I understand this is ongoing.  The signs designating a School Zone remain.
Other suggestions which have been made include;
Installing speed bumps and/or rumble strips along North Road.  This has been mostly ruled out, because of the noise factor.  Vehicles slowing down and speeding up, and the sound of tires rumbling over these structures, can be very annoying to neighbours - and, occurring at all times of the day.

Construction of traffic circles at both ends of North Road. Traffic circles do indeed slow traffic down.  And a traffic circle at the Beacon Heights Road and the junction of Highway nine and Highway 806 would have an effect, but this option would be quite expensive.

There has been some discussion about the Village starting its own speed enforcement program. This would involve the village buying some kind of radar unit, and hire trained and certified personnel to operate it (and issue tickets for infractions).  I don't believe the village can afford to maintain such a unit as this.   It would probably make money immediately after it started but as compliance increased, less and less revenue would be realized from this very expensive unit.  I also understand that this kind of speed enforcement by municipalities on provincial highways is frowned upon be the province.

Finally, there was a suggestion to install a radar speed sign (like the one pictured above) along North Road to deter speeders.  These signs have proven effective to slow drivers down, and wouldn't require hiring someone to man it.  However, these signs don't write tickets and I don't know how much it would cost to install and maintain such a unit. 
Beiseker Village Council will be meeting with Alberta Transportation again this fall during the AUMA convention.  North Road will be the topic of much of the discussion there.

If reelected, I will continue to push for these and possibly other changes to make North Road safer for all.


  1. I remember Rocky View County running into jurisdictional issues with regards to photo-radar speed enforcement along provincial highways, years ago. Is that what you're thinking of? Once upon a time, the County's traffic enforcement unit had a regular photo radar speed trap set up along Highway 564, in the hamlet of Delacour. It went away once the province put its foot down.

    I'm not so sure if the province would take the same view of manned enforcement by an actual peace officer. But like you said - hiring and equipping a peace officer for a community the size of Beiseker would be expensive. I've only ever seen them in towns of 5,000 or so, like Didsbury or Olds.

  2. I believe the radar speed limit devices are the way to go.
    We should bring this up with Alberta Transportation during AUMA convention. We will have to encourage them o implement the other items they have proposed.

    Al Henuset

  3. Agreed. Thanks Al. As I mentioned, they've been very busy this summer but we don't want them to forget about us either.