Calgary city councillor researches reduced speed limits for residential areas

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WATCH: Calgary commuters may have to slow down on residential roadways in the future. Joel Senick explains why city councillors are now mulling the move – May 10, 2018

A Calgary city councillor is gathering data on the impacts of reducing the speed limit and adding speed calming measures in the city’s residential streets.

Ward 7 councillor Druh Farrell said she is consulting with her colleagues on the issue of lowering Calgary’s standard residential speed limit, which currently sits at 50 kilometres per hour.

The move is possible now that a charter was enacted this spring, allowing the city to set its own standard speed limits.

“We’re just looking at every tool possible to improve safety and livability on our streets and in our neighbourhoods,” Farrell said Thursday.

Transportation and Transit Committee Chair Shane Keating said he would support a move to reduce the standard residential speed limit to 40 kilometres per hour.

He added that residential traffic concerns are the top complaints his office receives from ward 12 residents.

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“The science is there that says for every kilometre, every ten kilometres of reduction in speed, the chance of survival or reduction of injury is significant,” Keating said.

“The unfortunate part is we have a bit of a mentality to speed, whatever the posted speed limit is, we can go a little over that and changing that mentality is crucial in residential areas.”

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Farrell said the research into the issue will likely include reaching out to officials from the Town of Okotoks. Officials there reduced the residential speed limit to 40 kilometres per hour in late 2015 and said they saw a 31 per cent reduction in traffic accidents the following year.

“It really is a change in driving behaviour and it does take some time,” Kelly Stienwand, the town’s municipal enforcement officer said.

“Once it does [change], it really is a benefit to the community.”

Farrell said there is no timeline for when the issue will officially be brought before council.

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