Regarding this Week's Discussion on Speed Limit Reduction in Residential Areas

September 18, 2018

Originally posted September 7, 2018

On Tuesday, I announced my support for a Notice of Motion that would reduce the unposted residential speed limit to 30km/hr., from the current 50km/hr. I did this publicly because the issue is important and I wanted the direct feedback of the residents that I represent.

I anticipated some controversy, but the level of engagement on this topic has been very humbling. My office has received hundreds of emails, calls, comments, and tweets about the speed limit proposal since it was first published on Thursday. I thank you all for the respectful debate and feedback received!

At the end of the day, the general consensus is that most people are in favour of a reduction in the speed limit on residential side streets. But what does that look like?
I’ve read most of your comments and emails. With that being said, I must make my new stance known. I will support Councillor Keating’s call for a reduction to 40km/hr on residential side streets. I believe that this will make our residential roads safer with a minimum impact on commute times. I also note that a reduction to 40km/hr is in line with previous reports that predate my time as Councillor.

I still believe that this issue is timely and important. According to the latest information from Administration, 1200 accidents occur every year on Residential and Collector roads, with 300 pedestrian injuries occurring on the same roads. Previously, it has been reported that the societal impact of pedestrian-involved collisions in Calgary is about $120 million.

I believe that this issue is about making roads safer for all commuters, especially school children. According to the 2016 Pedestrian Strategy report, in 2011, 17.6 percent of grade school children walked to school in the morning, down from 26.9 per cent in 2001. Reducing residential speed limits will make it safer for children to walk to school.

I also still believe that this is a low-cost solution to addressing a systemic issue. Given that crosswalks cost around $25,000, that traffic lights cost around $300,000, and that speed bumps can cost about $8,000, the cost of retrofitting thousands of Calgary’s old and new roads is astronomical. We can’t expect to retrofit every one of our City’s roads when there is no appetite among Calgarians to raise taxes. Full stop.

By changing driver behaviour we can realize the goal of making our streets safer. That is precisely what this Notice of Motion intends to do. We must continue this public conversation and be open to finding an efficient and effective way of making our streets safer. Setting a lower limit is the first step.

I thank you again for your thoughtful debates on this topic. At the end of the day, there is much for Council to consider as this issue comes before us on Monday.

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