Transcript: Remarks on Street Safety and Neighbourhood Speed Limits Notice of Motion

As predicted, this issue would be controversial and it evidently is, but it spurted a much needed public conversation on speed limits, especially residential streets.

As a father of three small children who play on these streets, I can’t fathom the arguments against this Notice of Motion. We’re specifically talking about residential side streets, not main roads, not collectors – residential side streets.

The fact that this is a public conversation that has been muddled into confusion regarding a war on cars absolutely baffles me. I’m a car enthusiast – I’ll say that right now, but I still support the exploration work being done here.

At the end of the day, the most common complaint that my Office receives relates to transportation and transit concerns around safety. Almost daily, my staff and I received demands for speed bumps, traffic calming measures, pedestrian lights, or stop lights.
If we were to repurpose every demand, how much would that cost? I can tell you that its hundreds of millions of dollars just in my Ward.

So how can we be effective in making our residential streets safer while watching our budget? By having this very public conversation around awareness and behavioural change on our streets.

The suggestion that speed limit enforcement is a cash grab also doesn’t hold water with me. If you don’t speed you’ll never have to pay anything, therefore this is voluntary if anything. 

It’s like texting and driving – we’ve made some behavioural changes there and I am proud to say that if I ever pick up my phone while driving my nine-year-old will shame me right there and then.

It’s also like drinking and driving – these all spurted from things that should have never been.

Many have questioned, why is this even a priority, given everything that we have going in our City? I can tell you, given that we have 1200 collisions every year on residential streets and collector roads, the societal impact of these collisions is estimated at $120 Million or so. 

So how isn’t it a priority? 

These are people who can’t get to work, can’t do their job, can’t contribute to the economy because there is an impact down the road, and its one we forget when think about this as just pedestrians being affected.
Moreover, it’s the hundreds of millions of dollars of mitigation work that we would have to undertake without this behavioural change. 

That’s why its important – we’re mindful of the budget and we’re mindful of the impact that it has. We have to come up with a cost-effective solution that works.

However, I do note that the public conversation has led to much consideration and contemplation. I for one put it out to my community and found the community is in favour of a 40km/hr speed reduction. 

To be clear, we would still like administration to go out and bring out a recommendation. We are not the experts, there has to be societal buy in to what were trying to do here, but at the end of the day, I’d like a solid recommendation of how this can be effective.

I like the idea of supplying maps to clear up any confusion in our community. I like the idea of knowing what’s the impact on transit – that’s one thing we don’t want to slow down. People are busy, they want to get to work, they need transit – so what’s the impact on transit?

And what’s the flexibility that we have for collector roads? Because let’s face it, a lot of what we’re talking about here today does happen on collector roads – roads that have lots of accidents. We need to be mindful that there are communities out there that are saying that “the collector roads in my area are too fast and we need to get them slowed down”.

So for that, and all these reasons, I am happy to support this Notice of Motion and again thank you Councillor Farrell for putting this forward, and hopefully Council can support what we’ve put up here.