Spring Garden speed limit reduction petition launched by Halifax lawyer

Pedestrians cross Spring Garden Road on Thursday, June 1, 2016.
Pedestrians cross Spring Garden Road on Thursday, June 1, 2016. Reynold Gregor/Global News

An injury lawyer in Halifax has launched an online petition arguing for the speed limit on Spring Garden Road to be reduced from 50 km/h to 30 km/h.

John McKiggan says lowering the speed on the popular downtown street would ensure “a safer street for everyone.”

McKiggan said after learning about council’s plan to rejuvenate Spring Garden Road, he and his law partner tried to look at ways to make the area better for pedestrians.

“One of the ideas we tossed around was making it pedestrian only, which we didn’t think was practical, but statistics show, research shows that even a slight reduction in speed limits … has a dramatic reduction in the severity of injuries from car-pedestrian collisions,” McKiggan said.

He says of the 208 pedestrian-vehicle collisions that happened in 2015, more than half a dozen were on Spring Garden Road. He says the speed limit reduction would decrease the risk of death or serious injury resulting from a collision from 20 per cent to two per cent.

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“The problem is, these days, with distracted driving — and now distracted walking — we’re seeing an increase in car-pedestrian collisions and Spring Garden Road is one of the hot spots in HRM. This strip of the city has an inordinate amount of car-pedestrian collisions,” he said.

McKiggan said they’ve had good support with the petition so far, and the McKiggan Herbert Law Firm Facebook page has been the site of a lot of dialogue among people agreeing and disagreeing with the proposal.

McKiggan also makes the argument that statistics show that “60 per cent or more of car-pedestrian collisions actually happen in crosswalks,” something he thinks a decreased speed limit will help resolve on the bustling downtown street.

“Human nature being what it is, accidents are going to happen, collisions are going to continue to happen, we’re just looking for a way to make it safer and reduce serious injuries and mortality when there is a car-pedestrian collision,” McKiggan said.

The petition, which needs 100 signatures before it’s delivered to Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan, is already gaining popularity, with 37 names added so far.

McKiggan also said he plans to bring it to city council for consideration as they look at ways to rejuvenate Spring Garden Road.

For more information on the petition, visit the McKiggan Herbert Lawyers website.