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Unanimous vote in support of reducing speed limit on Upper Gage where young boy was killed

11-year-old Jude Strickland was hit while crossing Royalvista Drive near Upper Gage Avenue on Dec. 1, according to police. Jamie Strickland / Facebook

New traffic safety measures will soon come into effect on the street where an 11-year-old Hamilton boy was struck and killed in December.

During Friday’s public works committee meeting, councillors voted unanimously in favour of a staff report that recommends lowering the speed limit on Upper Gage Avenue between Stone Church Road and Rymal Road East from 50 to 40 kilometres per hour.

That was where Jude Strickland was hit by a vehicle while walking home from school on Dec. 1, 2020.

The driver behind the wheel of the vehicle is alleged to have blown through a red light and ignored a crossing guard.

Read more: Petition calls for lower speed limit following tragedy on Upper Gage Avenue

His death led to a petition calling for the city to lower the speed limit on that section of Upper Gage, which was presented to city councillors during the Feb. 1 public works meeting.

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Tom Jackson, Ward 6 councillor, said the community made their voices heard in the wake of the tragedy.

“Literally thousands of families … have just surrounded this family and embraced them with love, support and wanting to do whatever they could in their own small way, to ensure … the safety of the children for the future. And Jude’s tragic loss of life will never, ever be in vain, never forgotten.”

The staff report also recommends making that stretch of Upper Gage a community safety zone and lowering the speed limit on Royalvista Drive and Templemead Drive from 40 to 30 kilometres per hour, in alignment with the school zone.

The changes need to be ratified at city council before they take effect.

Read more: Youngster’s tragic death in Hamilton prompts Upper Gage Avenue safety audit

Staff aren’t recommending red light cameras at the intersection of Upper Gage and Royalvista because the traffic safety audit determined it doesn’t meet the threshold for a red light camera to effectively reduce collisions.

Upper Gage won’t be added to the city’s automated speed enforcement (ASE) pilot program, but it could be considered as a location if the city decides to go forward with a permanent version of the program.

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“If we add more locations to that plan, we would have to reexamine that program and probably have to extend it beyond 12 months,” said Mike Field, the city’s manager of transportation operations.

“And then if we were to install or operate ASE on Upper Gage, it wouldn’t be there for very long as part of the pilot — maybe only for a two-week cycle.”

Read more: Hamilton’s 2 photo radar cameras out of service due to vandalism, says city

There won’t be flashing ‘school zone’ lights added to Upper Gage either, as the road isn’t close enough to the school under the rules outlined in the Highway Traffic Act.

However, Field said there could be changes made to the physical roadway of Upper Gage, including removing the southbound curb lane at Stone Church, but he acknowledged that more analysis is needed before a significant change could be made.

Ward 8 Coun. John-Paul Danko said the conversation around traffic safety and Hamilton’s major arterial roadways shouldn’t be isolated to Upper Gage.

“I think it’s just important for this committee to recognize that just because it’s a commuter link, just because it’s a major arterial, it doesn’t mean that the people that live in those neighbourhoods don’t deserve safe access to school.”

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