April 24, 2019 12:43 pm
Updated: April 24, 2019 8:26 pm

Edmonton city councillors discuss proposal to reduce residential speed limit

WATCH ABOVE: The city is one step closer to lowering residential speed limits. Edmonton city council has been looking at dropping them to 40 km/h. But one group hopes to go even lower in the core. Vinesh Pratap reports.

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*UPDATE: The community and public services committee didn’t make any recommendations but requisitioned the issue to council as a whole. A decision is expected as early as next week.

A draft bylaw lowering Edmonton’s residential speed limit to 40 km/h was debated by some members of city councillors on Wednesday.

Right now, unless otherwise stated, the default speed limit on all Edmonton roads is 50 km/h.

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Back in March, members of the community and public services committee directed city administration to draft a bylaw framework to change the speed limits on local residential roads from 50 km/h to 40 km/h.

READ MORE: Mother of Edmonton girl struck by school bus asks city council to make changes on road

City administration has come up with two options: change the default speed limit citywide or alter the speed limit only on select residential roads. The city said that no matter the approach, considerable investment in new speed limit signs would be required.

However, during the committee meeting, a group of concerned citizens presented another option.

A new option: YEG Core Zone Proposal

The group of citizens asked councillors to consider an option that would lower the residential speed limit to 30 km/h in a section of central Edmonton.

The area would span from 118 Avenue in the north to 61 Avenue in the south, 142 Street to the west and 75 Street to the east.

The Core Zone Proposal would see 30 km/h speed limits on local residential roads in that area, 40 km/h on collector roads in that area, and arterial speed limits would remain the same as they are currently.

The group believes this plan would help the city meet its Vision Zero goal, reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

Option A: Change the default speed limit ($6.9M)

The first option would have the default speed limit lowered from 50 km/h to 40 km/h, however no new 40 km/h speed limit signs would be posted.

All current roads not identified as local residential roads — such as arterial, collector, industrial and commercial roads — would have new 50 km/h speed limit signs installed.

Because the default speed limit would be lowered without signs indicating the change, the city says this option would require advertising and public notices regarding the changes about six months before they take effect.

That plan would include mailing notices to every home in Edmonton as well as advertising on roadside billboards, transit, radio or TV commercials and on social media. A public information session in each ward would also be held.

READ MORE: Edmonton city council asked to set slower neighbourhood speed limits

As part of this charter bylaw option, public engagement would be completed in the form of a public hearing.

This option would mean an additional 20,000 signs installed across Edmonton at an estimated cost of $6.9 million.

It is estimated that this option would be complete one year after the charter bylaw was passed.

WATCH: On March 20, Edmonton city councillors weighed the pros and cons of lowering speed limits in residential neighbourhoods

Option B: Change the speed limit on select residential roads ($15.9M)

The second option would be to maintain the current default speed limit at 50 km/h and install 40 km/h speed limit signs on local residential roads.

That would mean an extra 55,000 signs installed at an estimated cost of $15.9 million.

Option B would involve a staged approach with neighbourhoods prioritized in this order: ones that have had fatal and serious injury collisions on local residential roads, core neighbourhoods, neighbourhoods inside Anthony Henday Drive and neighbourhoods outside the ring road.

New areas under construction as well as neighbourhoods undergoing renewal would be re-signed as construction progresses.

Funding

The speed limit changes would be paid for by the Traffic Safety and Automated Enforcement Reserve (TSAER) fund, which is where money from photo radar and red light camera tickets goes.

However, using funding from the TSAER fund would take away from programs supporting the city’s Vision Zero initiative.

READ MORE: Vision Zero report shows fewest traffic fatalities and injuries since Edmonton program began

The city said there are two programs that would be affected in 2020: the traffic safety engineering measures program would receive partial funding, and the intersection and traffic safety management equipment program would not receive any funding.

In 2021, the school safety program would receive partial funding, and the traffic safety engineering measures would not receive any funding.

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