Tumbler drivers can get around downtown faster, thanks to new higher speed limits on three roads in town.
At the Council meeting on September 19, Council moved to have the speed limit for Pioneer Loop, Northgate Street and Southgate Street increase from 30 kph per hour to 50 kph.
The legislation was passed in light of a warning from ICBC that their driver’s license instructors might stop coming to town and stop issuing driver’s licenses here.
“I was in talk[s] with Jose at the insurance place, and that is one of the main reasons why the [instructors] stopped doing the driver’s licenses,” says Councillor Darryl Krakowka. He says he received an email from ICBC. “They talk directly about the speed zones, about not being able to see the young adults or adults that are going for the class 5 slow down to a speed limit and then doing the increase at a certain time… they say that’s a big issue: not being able to see the people react to the two speed zones.”
Like most of Council, Krakowka doesn’t want to see Tumbler Ridge lose the service. “We need that! We need that in Tumbler… We need to make sure we’re trying to support getting all these back in, and not losing services in Tumbler Ridge, whether it’s the driving services, or other services that are put on by the government.”
Councillor Will Howe agrees. “We’re losing another service in Tumbler Ridge that [Council] can do something to fix, by putting the speed limits back to 50 (km/h), then asking [ICBC], ‘listen, we’ve done our part. We’ve changed the speed limits in the downtown core back to 50 (km/h) what you guys (ICBC) required’.”
If that doesn’t work, he suggests encouraging them to come in once every three months. “[We should] do what we’ve got to do to keep the services in Tumbler Ridge. That’s what they’ve asked us to do. We’re doing our part, it’s up to them to do their part.”
Councillor Rob Mackay isn’t sure changing the speed limits will be enough to keep ICBC in town. “Their largest concern was they just weren’t getting the clientele going through. That would determine whether they come in or not, not the speed limits.”
Indeed, even with the news that the speed limits are changing, there has been no move on the part of ICBC to reinstate the driving instruction. The ICBC Representative who apparently made the decision to stop the driver training in Tumbler Ridge was asked to comment on this, but declined to do so.
It should be noted that Class 7 Driving instruction (for beginning drivers to get their N), is still being offered in Tumbler Ridge. However, other classes of licenses (classes 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1) which were previously offered in Tumbler Ridge are no longer being offered. It is unclear at this time, however, how much of a demand there was for these previously.
So then how much time would you save if you were to drive those roads at 50 km/h, rather than 30 km/h? And the answer: 95 seconds. All in all, the three roads – Northgate & Southgate Streets, plus Pioneer Loop – add up to 2 km. It would take approximately two minutes and twenty-four seconds verses three minutes and fifty-nine seconds with the speed limit changes to drive all three roads.