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Richmond to consider lowering speed limit along road popular with cyclists

Over 70,000 cycle trips to Iona Beach Regional Park were recorded by Metro Vancouver in the first 10 months of 2019
Ferguson Road speed limits and jurisdictions
The jurisdiction and speed limits of Ferguson Road, west of McDonald Road, are shown. The City of Richmond will consider lowering the speed limit to 30 km/h along the entire stretch between McDonald and Shannon roads.

Richmond will consider lowering the speed limit along a stretch of Ferguson Road, favoured by cyclists, to 30 km/h.

City staff are recommending council approve the speed reduction between McDonald and Shannon roads to improve road safety.

The speed limit along Ferguson Road – which stretches for 6.3 kilometres from Grauer Road-Templeton Street at its eastern end, to Iona Beach Regional Park at its western end – varies based on who has jurisdiction over which section.

The City of Richmond, Vancouver Airport Authority and Metro Vancouver each manage sections of the two-lane road, which is used by airport-related construction traffic, large truck operators and employees who work at nearby industrial sites, such as the Canada Post facility, UPS and the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

But the road is also heavily used by cyclists, and in the first 10 months of 2019, Metro Vancouver recorded more than 70,000 cycle trips to the regional park. During weekends and holidays in the summer, for example, there are between 700 and 900 cyclists using the road daily.

“This straight stretch of Ferguson Road, uninterrupted by traffic signals, is favoured by competitive cyclists for training,” a city staff report reads.

Currently, the default speed limit east of McDonald Road – which falls under the airport authority’s jurisdiction – is 50 km/h, while Metro Vancouver’s section that runs north through to Iona Beach Regional Park has a speed limit of 30 km/h.

A small portion of the city’s stretch between McDonald and Shannon roads also has a 30 km/h limit.

While there is a two-metre shoulder for cyclists to use from the eastern end of Ferguson Road to about 300 metres west of McDonald Road, the road narrows further west and cyclists need to share the travel lane.

The report notes lowering the speed limit west of McDonald Road would establish consistent driver expectations and improve cyclist safety. Both the airport authority and Metro Vancouver have committed to lowering the speed limits in their sections of Ferguson Road to 30 km/h.

If the lower speed limit is approved by council, a speed reader board will be installed west of McDonald Road for westbound users.

Pavement markings indicating cyclists will be added to the road in the first quarter of this year, while “single file” signage was installed by the city along the entire length of Ferguson Road west of McDonald Road in October 2020. Signage and pavement markings in the airport authority and Metro Vancouver sections were completed in November 2020.

The city will also do minor road repairs along its section to fix potholes and cracked pavement edges.

According to the report, costs are covered by existing city budgets.

Metro Vancouver plans on widening an 850-metre-long section of the road – the north-south causeway linking Sea Island to Iona Island – which would give cyclists a 1.5-metre wide shoulder on the west side.

The airport authority is also working to improve the Ferguson Road corridor west of the Canada Post site, including an off-street multi-use pathway, according to the report.

The motion is on the agenda for Tuesday’s public works and transportation committee meeting.