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Should the speed limit on the Linc and Red Hill parkways be 80 km/h?

A Hamilton city councillor will propose Thursday looking at reducing the speed limit on the Lincoln Alexander and Red Hill Valley Parkways to 80 km/h in the hopes it makes the highways safer.

City has been looking at ways to make the highways safer after numerous crashes and deaths

Emergency crews were called to the scene of a crash that killed one person and sent another to hospital in January. Coun. Sam Merulla, who's suggested numerous ways to try to make the highways safer, says maybe it's time to look at reducing the speed limit. (Andrew Collins/CBC)

A Hamilton city councillor wants the city to look at reducing the speed limit on the Lincoln Alexander and Red Hill Valley Parkways to 80 km/h in the hopes it makes the highways safer.

We're not getting compliance at 90. How are we going to get compliance at 80?- Coun. Lloyd Ferguson

Sam Merulla of Ward 4 will make the proposal Thursday to lower the speed limit from 90 km/h, so those with heavy feet will travel at a more reasonable speed.

Merulla will float the idea of a feasibility study at a city council public works committee meeting. 

Fatal crashes in recent years have prompted the city to look at spending millions to make roads safer, including high-tension cable guide rails and rain-activated flashing beacons. But Merulla said ultimately, people have to slow down too.

"Everyone recognizes there's an issue with both roads," he said. "And I think everyone recognizes it has nothing to do with infrastructure and design and everything to do with speed."

Jordyn Hastings and Olivia Smosarski died when their car crossed the median on the Red Hill Valley Parkway. (Jordyn Hastings/Facebook)

The roadways are built with a design speed of 110 km/h. But a 2015 consultant report shows a lot of drivers go much faster than that.

A review showed that more than 500 vehicles per day go faster than 140 km/h, and the 85th percentile drive at 115 km/h or faster.

The consultant also recommended about $10 million in fixes over the long term to make the highways safer.

The incidents are numerous. In May, for example, a Good Samaritan was hit on the Red Hill Valley Parkway when she stopped to try to help another motorist. In 2015, two recent high school graduates died in a crash on the highway, and their families were vocal about the need to make the road safer.

Their focus, however, was on the design.

"If they recognize that there are difficulties with the road, why does it take so long?" said Colette Wilson, grandmother of 20-year-old Jordyn Hastings.

"Nobody did anything wrong, so everyone wants to know why. There's no reason why except the road."

Jason Farr, Ward 2 councillor, said he's open to seeing a feasibility study on reducing the speed limit.

"I'm sure there will be some provincial comment or expertise from the (Ministry of Transportation), so I'd be interested to see what that is," he said.

Lloyd Ferguson, Ancaster councillor, said he has "mixed feelings."

"We're not getting compliance at 90," he said. "How are we going to get compliance at 80?"

This is just the latest idea Merulla has proposed about the highways. Others include photo radar to counting out-of-town trucks that use the road. 

samantha.craggs@cbc.ca | @SamCraggsCBC

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