City councillors are being asked to hold off approving a blanket speed limit reduction for residential streets, at least until there’s more public input and a report comes back to council in November.
Councillor Druh Farrell is among those pushing for the lower speed limit. She says many residents don’t feel safe in their neighbourhoods and don’t let the children walk to school. Farrell wants the speed limit dropped to 30kph. “40K is a compromise. 30K is the ideal. Many cities are going down to 30K on residential streets and we know that saves lives.”
Councillor Ward Sutherland, though, says speed isn’t the issue when it comes to pedestrian safety. “The number one issue right now with pedestrian and vehicle collisions is pedestrians crossing in the wrong area. So. when you take all those accidents that happen over the 500, that’s the number issue. The number two issue is distracted driving.”
Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he can’t support a 40K residential speed limit because it would cost too much unless the province changes laws stating each individual street must be signed unless the speed limit is 50kph. “In other words, if we could actually say everywhere it’s not signed is 40 and not 50 the way it is now. I think the challenge of putting signs on every single residential road and cul-de-sac is a bridge too far for me.”
The entire pedestrian strategy deals with fifty items of action which includes more flashing pedestrian signs, sidewalk improvements and looking at road design. The cost would be $15 million.