Posted maximum speeds along the Red Hill Valley Parkway in Hamilton have been reduced. Such an action may produce more safety problems.

Even before the discussions about the hiding of the Tradewinds Scientific report, the City of Hamilton should have been aware of the contents of the 2013 CIMA report which indicated “An average of more than 500 vehicles per day were recorded exceeding 140 km/h” on the Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP).

The northbound road segment of the Red Hill Valley Parkway between Greenhill Ave and King Street in Hamilton, Ontario is the most challenging safety issue on the Parkway.

The reduction of the speed limit from 90 km/h to 80 km/h will have very little effect on the average operating speed because of the perception that drivers have about what speed is safe. What is not recognized is that even CIMA misjudged the level of safety of the RHVP in their report of 2015 by assuming that the design speed was 110 km/h rather than the 90 km/h that was eventually revealed. Thus even these experts who conducted the safety audit of the RHVP were misled. What could one expect of the average driver who does not possess the expertise of experience and training to understand what is meant by “design speed”?

What is likely to happen now that the speed limit is reduced is that much of the speed control will be given to police who will be asked to enforce the limit. Police will be waiting on the roadsides with their radar/lidar equipment and pulling drivers over to give them a traffic citation. What is not recognized is what new dangers that will  create.

With a much increased level of police presence along the sides of the RHVP there will be an increase in traffic chaos. Drivers attempting to follow the new “move over” laws will be attempting to change speeds and will be attempting to change lanes in the vicinity where the RHVP is already challenging with¬† respect to it horizontal and vertical curves, along with it substandard surface friction. This chaos is likely to produce an increase in collisions – the very collisions that the police (and City of Hamilton) are attempting to reduce.

This is the reality that is not being publicized.

What the research suggests is that there is a need to improve the safety conditions of the RHVP at its most dangerous location. That location is the northbound travel from the Greenhill exit to the King Street exit. That should take first priority.