Council’s Urban Planning Committee has agreed to a city wide study on residential speed limits. The goal is to increase pedestrian safety, and to limit short cutting through neighborhoods.
“I don’t know what the answer is, but neighborhoods do not need 50 km/hr speed limits,” Doug Densmore of the Crestwood Community League told the committee. “You look at the damage to an individual at a 50 as opposed to say a 30.”
Newton resident Sonia Sonon blames the advancement of GPS devices in vehicles as one new contributor to people trying to short cut. She told reporters there’s a constant parade of vehicles on her neighborhood avenue, who divert trying to avoid 112th ave and 50th street.
“I can show you incorrect data that showed the avenue that I’m talking about as being a collector. It is not,” she said. “It’s actually a local avenue, it’s only nine meters wide, collectors are typically eleven. This error translated all the way to Toronto.”
She even reached out to a GPS manufacturer to see if people are getting accurate information. “Tom-Tom, I contacted just to find out, ‘do you differentiate between local, collector and arterial when telling people the shortest route to take?’ and they said ‘no,’ which puts all of our residential roadways at risk.”
Committee chair, Coun. Andrew Knack said the city will plan a massive communication strategy to find out reaction to a possible slower speed limit of 40 km/hr on residential streets. He said mistakes were made in the last go-around that dates back to 2010.
“What we can’t do is what happened in the past, which is fragmenting. We either have to be city wide, or we have to be not at all. To do it community by community doesn’t make sense.” He said the petitioning by volunteers that had to reach two-thirds support was extremely difficult to do.
Knack cited the Municipal Government Act for the high threshold of community support, and the need to have city administration prove they’ve made an effort to contact citizens.
He said Calgary is already underway with a similar effort. He expected the process could take as much as eight months to complete.