Saskatoon committee taking further look at lowering residential speed limits
The committee was tasked with deciding whether or not council should look at developing a framework for revising speed limits within neighbourhoods. This includes school and playground zones following a report that was issued surrounding speed limits, traffic safety, and the impacts of lowering a speed limit.
A new speed limit has not been proposed, but the report laid out the benefits of a 40 km/h or even 30 km/h limit.
The transportation committee is made up of councillors Zach Jeffries, Bev Dubois, Cynthia Block, Randy Donauer, and Sarina Gersher, and Mayor Charlie Clark. Coun. Gersher was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
In the end, the committee decided to put forward three motions.
One is that the committee recommends city council to have administration develop a detailed framework for revising posted speed limits on neighbourhood streets.
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That motion narrowly passed with a 3-2 vote. Councillors Donauer and Jeffries opposed the motion.
“I have not, in eight years I’ve been on council, seen a broad call for the reduction of city wide neighborhood speed limits. It’s something the community would have to call for before I would be interested in moving that way,” Donauer said.
“The big call isn’t to reduce speed limits across the neighbourhoods, it’s to enforce the speed limits that are there.”
“I would find it hard to imagine a day that I would think 30 km/h on most residential streets would be reasonable. However, it does appear that the trend across many North American cities is to re-prioritize the public realm to ensure pedestrians are better served,” said Block, who voted in favour of the motion.
The second motion was that the committee recommend city council look at school zones and the development of the playground zones.
In April 2003, the city approved reduced speed zones for schools. There is currently no policy surrounding playground zones.
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The motion passed with a 4-1 vote, with Donauer being the only one opposed to the motion.
“What I’m hearing from my community is we have got a nice balance now,” Donauer said. “I think people are happy with where we’ve settled on the school zone issue. I haven’t had a lot of people ask us to reevaluate the playgrounds.”
The committee also indicated they would be interested in potentially removing high schools from the school zones.
“I just raised two teenagers that have gone through the high school system and I certainly don’t think [school zones at high schools] are necessary,” Block said.
The third motion was regarding getting further reports for options regarding speed and safety concerns in areas where there are high concentrations of seniors, and looking at the option of developing senior zones.
The motion was brought forward by Coun. Dubois and was unanimously supported by the committee.
“I think it’s an interesting idea but I want to be cautious that we don’t want to be prescriptive in terms of what the administration comes back with,” said Block.
The items will now head to city council on Oct. 22.
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