Street Safety and Neighbourhood Speed Limits

Next Monday, there is a Notice of Motion coming to City Council that addresses street safety and neighbourhood speed limits. The proposal is to limit the speed in residential areas from the current default of 50 km/hr to 30 km/hr.

I’ve put my name forward in support of this Notice of Motion.

One of the most frequent concerns that my Office hears from residents relates to speeding in residential and school areas. Usually, the callers concerned are worried about their children or elderly neighbours. Certainly, to me, it is very clear that this is a Citywide problem.

The intent of the Notice of Motion is to change driver behaviour. At the end of the day, there is no optimal amount of curb enhancements, speeding cameras or police officers that will stop all people from speeding. However, by changing driver behaviour overtime we can realize the goal of making our streets safer. Transportation was one of my main platform points and I remain committed to exploring solutions that work.
It is important to note that we’re talking about residential side streets. We are not talking about major roadways likes Bow Trail, Old Banff Coach Road, or Richmond Road. We are talking about the street in front of our homes where you walk and where our children play ball hockey or ride their bikes.

Calgary is not alone in addressing this issue. The cities of Airdrie, Toronto and Ottawa have already reduced their
residential speed limits to either 30km/hr or 40km/hr. Edmonton is requesting a strategy for neighbourhood speed limit reductions. These Canadian cities are joined by a worldwide trend to tackle this issue.

The World Health Organization reports that a pedestrian struck at 30 km/h has a 90 percent survival likelihood. Compare this to 60 percent at 40km/h, or 20 percent at 50km/hr – the current unposted limit in our residential areas.

I need to reiterate that this isn’t about a “war on cars” or government overreach. This is about a setting a standard that will make our neighbourhoods safe; about protecting our children in the areas they play in. This is about a common-sense solution to a City-wide problem.

So how much of an impact will this have on your commute?

According to research by City Administration, the vast majority of Calgarians commute an average of eight kilometres per. including less than one kilometre of travel on neighbourhood streets. Reducing the speed limit of 30km/h from 50km/h would add less than one minute of travel time to a typical commute.

I understand that this a controversial issue. I want to hear from you – please feel free to comment below on what you think of the Notice of Motion and how we can make our streets safer.