The 30 km/h speed limit signs in Airdrie have been around longer than many homeowners may realize.
The city dropped the residential speed limit in 1982. Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown said he hasn’t had any complaints about the speed for the past five years and says, for the most part, people are obeying the posted limit.
He pointed to the increased survivability rates that come with lower speed limits as to why he would recommend the change for the neighbouring city of Calgary.
Councillors in Calgary are debating reducing the speed limit on some residential streets from 50 km/h to 30.
“I appreciate that people may be frustrated that have been driving 50 km/h on a residential road for a long time but when you look at survivability rates, it’s a no-brainer,” Brown said on Monday.
“When you do the time from 50 to 30, it’s not that much out of your time or your schedule to get home. Just get home safely is the most important thing in a community.”
Brown said he expects the change may be met with resistance in Calgary, but his advice to residents is to just give it a try.
“For the most part, it’s just changing a habit,” Brown said. “The most important thing for everyone is safety and to me, that overrides anything about personal preference.”
People in Airdrie say opponents of dropping the speed limit in Calgary are making too big a deal of the situation.
“Get with the program,” said Ron Messmer, who retired to Airdrie from Saskatchewan years ago. “You guys are way behind the times. Get caught up with Airdrie.
“Everybody’s in a hurry it’s too fast in this world — 30 is good. I don’t mind it, I respect it.”
“You feel like you’re in a bit of a crawl but it’s safety first, kids are still important and they jump out from behind cars. This is a residential community, it’s not a race track.”
Calgary’s mayor says over the past week, council has had a lot of what he calls a helpful discussion on the topic.
“Pedestrians are texting too much, drivers are inattentive, parents don’t know how to raise the kids — all of that is completely irrelevant,” Naheed Nenshi said.
“The point is for the very small part of your commute, the part where you’re in a cul-de-sac or a close within your own neighbourhood, should you go slower? And I think everybody agrees that is the right thing to do.”
Nenshi said the vast majority of a person’s commute would not be affected. He’s calling for a 30 km/h speed limit because that’s what scientific studies have determined is the best for safety, but said moving to 40 km/h would be a step in the right direction.
Okotoks reduced residential speed limits to 40 km/h in 2015 and several streets in Cochrane were reduced to 30 km/h in August of this year.