EDMONTON — Do you think the standard 50 kilometres per hour speed limit on residential streets is too fast? The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues does and it’s pushing for the province to make changes to legislation that would give Alberta cities the option to lower the speed limit on residential roads.
“Fifty is just too fast,” Allan Bolstad, executive director of the EFCL, said as he stood on the sidewalk in the Queen Alexandra neighbourhood Tuesday morning. “It’s just not safe to be doing that… Forty is much closer to what people should be doing.”
Bolstad said he would like to see the province make changes so that cities would have the option to lower the speed limit on residential streets to 40 km/h unless otherwise posted. The speed change would not be mandatory province-wide, Bolstad suggested.
“Let’s make neighbourhoods a little safer for people and a little more enjoyable to walk in and feel safe in.”
In 2010, the City of Edmonton held a pilot project, changing the speed limit in six neighbourhoods to 40 km/h. It came with a price tag of $500,000 because of the cost of changing the speed limit signs.
“We’re much happier if we could make 40 the new norm for residential streets throughout the city and then just mark the larger streets with a higher speed limit,” Bolstad said.
Melissa Richtscheid lives in the King Edward Park neighbourhood. As a new mother who doesn’t drive and often pushes her baby stroller around the neighbourhood, she “absolutely” supports the idea of lowering the speed limit to 40 km/h.
“Very good idea. I can’t see any downside to that,” she said. “We have enough areas of our city that are so auto-centric, if you will, that I feel like residential neighbourhoods need to cater to the residents not to traffic.”
There is some concern, though, over consistency. For example, if the speed limit change is optional for cities, drivers could run into a situation where they would be required to drive one speed in Edmonton and another in Leduc, St. Albert or Sherwood Park.
Bolstad said education is the key to avoid confusion.
“You’d have to have some education on that front and some pretty large signs at the entrance to your city letting everybody know that 40 km/h is the speed unless otherwise posted,” he said.
“It’s not that complicated. I think people would get used to it.”
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