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Speed limits are the real St. Albert trap

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  |  Posted: Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 06:00 am

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Photo radar – it is to St. Albert what the sausage is to Mundare. This city is infamous for its attack on so-called speeders. The dastardly photo radar Jeep could be lurking around the very next corner. Commuters are left wondering if today is the day the cop will jump out from behind a pole or bush and zap them with a radar gun.

Before we take issue with speeding in St. Albert, we need to be clear that we’re supportive of preventative measures that get drivers to slow down. If you get a photo radar ticket in the mail, or if you get zapped, you were speeding, pure and simple. No sense getting upset. The radar equipment did its job, so pay the fine.

It’s perfectly reasonable, however, to question the ridiculous posted speed limits in this city. Speed enforcement personnel know that St. Albert’s speed limits have been established without regard to common sense and they set up their photo and manned radar traps at strategic locations where commuters are most likely to “speed.”

The crazy patchwork of speed limits around the city is truly mindboggling, and to someone unfamiliar with the grid (and even those who drive the streets every day), a photo radar ticket is probably inevitable.

Why, for example, is the posted limit on McKenney Avenure 50 kilometres an hour while the limit on Giroux Road is 60? Both arterials are four lanes, both run east/west, and both divide neighbourhoods.

Examples of asinine speed traps in St. Albert abound. The four-lane stretch along Sir Winston Churchill Avenue up to Levasseur Road is a mind-numbing 50 km/h. Commuters on Dawson Road, a four-lane arterial, have to endure the same painfully slow limit.

And if you try to breeze down Grandin Road, you do so at your own peril. The four-lane road is also an absurd 50 km/h. Poirier Avenue, also a nice, wide four-laner, is 50 km/h.

All of these roads are perennial favourites of the radar people, and that’s because drivers intuitively feel these roads should have a posted speed limit of 60 km/h.

Our municipality would have us believe that photo radar is not simply a cash cow. But why, then, do these obviously flawed speed limits exist in St. Albert?

City council has the power to change the speed limits so they are consistent and make logical sense to drivers. Enforcing speed limits that make sense is one thing, but keeping speed limits artificially low just to fill the city’s coffers is quite another.


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