Skateboarding on Main St. Will Not Become Illegal.
“You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd” Roger Miller famously sang in 1965 but it looks like you will be able to continue to do so if that herd is on Main Street.
In a unanimous decision, Executive Committee decided to remove the prohibition on skateboarding, rollerblading and roller skating on Main Street, the street itself as well as the sidewalk, from Saskatchewan Street to Manitoba Street in the proposed new Traffic Bylaw.
“I’m not sure if it's from a communication report, a compelling reason or accident that people aren’t aware of maybe skateboards are more dangerous,” Councillor Don Mitchell said.
Coun Mitchell spoke about the recent on-line survey where the majority of respondents opposed the ban saying “the negative response on this was it not being necessary.”
As part of the process, a ten day on-line survey was conducted which found varying degrees of support for new additions to the Traffic Bylaw.
When it came to the skateboarding prohibition, a total of 1046 or 57.5 percent of respondents were opposed and 773 or 42.5 percent were in favour. It was the only question posed in the survey the majority of respondents never supported.
“I want to make a motion to get rid of this skateboard thing in the bylaw. I don’t agree with it. We have bigger fish to fry than skateboarding or in-line skating on Main Street,” Councillor Dawn Luhning said.
Coun Mitchell concurred, stating “to create a major issue and a backlash (is wrong) as a lot of people pointed out it’s an athletic activity we want to encourage.”
It needs to be noted that the reasons previously cited were the steepness of the Main Street incline plus the larger numbers of pedestrians on Main Street’s sidewalks.
An earlier Executive Committee meeting heard the proposed bylaw stipulation was an addition from the Moose Jaw Police Service (MJPS) and they were adamant in its inclusion.
The proposed Main Street skateboarding prohibition drew many negative reactions on social media, including calls to boycott Main Street businesses or MJPS educational functions.
Making bicycle helmets mandatory for all riders under the age of 18 was popular with those completing the survey.
Of the 1821 respondents to the mandatory helmet bylaw a total of 1394 or 76.55 percent favored the initiative while 427 or 23.45 percent were opposed.
The results helped fuel Councillor Chris Warren’s support for the initiative. He pointed out the survey question had the most support plus police had discretion when it came to issuing fines.
“It’s a great opportunity to educate people on the importance of helmets,” Coun Warren stated.
Councillor Dawn Luhning felt making it mandatory for bicyclists under 18 should be looked after by a higher level of government.
“This is not a municipal issue but more of provincial jurisdiction. We will be the only city in Saskatchewan to have a law. I think it warrants a little further discussion,” Coun Luhning stated.
Councillor Mitchell felt the age limit should be lowered to 16 and under. An amendment to the proposed bylaw was defeated on a tie with Councillors Brian Swanson, Mitchell and Luhning in favour. Councillor Scott McMann was absent.
A second amendment moved by Coun Swanson to remove the bicycle helmet requirements entirely fell with Mayor Frasier Tolmie, Councillors Crystal Froese and Warren opposed.
Reducing the number of hours recreation vehicles may be parked from 72 to 48 hours drew a mixed response with 967 or 53.22 percent in favour of the changes versus 850 or 46.78 percent opposed.
A favourable response to proposed new regulations in the bylaw came in regards to construction zone speeds. The Bylaw proposes to limit speeds in construction zones to 60 percent of posted speed limits.
The proposed addition to the Bylaw saw 1541 respondents or 84.48 percent in favour of the proposed speed reductions and 283 or 15.5 percent opposed.
The most favourable response to proposed Bylaw changes came in the traffic warrant proposal. Under this proposal, all new traffic controls such as signage will be installed under a system of engineering criteria combined with traffic counts plus additional collision and injury/fatality data.
The new traffic warrant system saw 1535 or 85.52 percent in favour with 260 or 14.48 percent opposed.
Despite this, there was discussion with Coun Swanson proposing an amendment allowing the “provision for citizens or Council members to initiate traffic control changes.”
Coun Swanson said “I do believe situations that arise when the textbook says one thing and it doesn’t fit the situation.”
Coun Warren pointed out at present there are 100 requests for signage and a more scientific warrant system would help alleviate it.
A vote to amend the Traffic Warrant stipulation in the proposed Traffic Bylaw fell with only Coun Swanson and Luhning supporting it.
Asked if other provisions should be added to the proposed new Traffic Bylaw the majority of survey respondents 1255 or 72.17 percent felt there were no more to add while 483 or 27.77 felt there were.
Other proposed restrictions to the proposed new Traffic Bylaw include the prohibition on idling a vehicle for more than 20 minutes within 100 meters of a Residential Zone.
Another restriction involves designated disabled parking stalls. The bylaw disallows parking in these stalls unless the vehicle displays a placard or sticker provided by the Saskatchewan Abilities Council or the City.
There is no apparent allowance for people with disability placards from outside the province to legally utilize designated disability parking stalls in the city.
Also included as part of the proposed new bylaw are updated Truck and Dangerous Good Routes. See maps.
The routes will restrict not only where heavy trucks may legally travel – truck routes – usually thicker more durable pavement to protect lighter pavement and gravel roadways from damage.
But in the case of dangerous goods routes; they are designated to keep their transportation away from residential and other areas plus often additionally areas with high potentials for a mishap. What constitutes a dangerous good and the amount is part of federal legislation – the Dangerous Goods Act.
The proposed new Traffic Bylaw must now go to City Council for three readings and additional discussion, if Council feels more discussion is necessary, before it is enacted.