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Lowering speed limits, bridging Thames Valley trail gap to be debated at London City Hall

Ottawa is the only city to set area speed limits in two zones. These "gateway" signs are installed at the entrances and exits of certain residential areas in Ottawa where the city deems a consistent speed limit of 40 km/h is more appropriate than the default 50 km/h.
Ottawa is the only city to set area speed limits in two zones. These "gateway" signs are installed at the entrances and exits of certain residential areas in Ottawa where the city deems a consistent speed limit of 40 km/h is more appropriate than the default 50 km/h. City of Ottawa

London city councillors have voted to move forward with consultations for lowering some residential speed limits to 40 km/h.

The recommendation, which comes from the civic works committee, suggests talking with various safety and transportation committees, as well as the public, before making a final decision to drop the speed limit 10 km/h from the default 50 km/h.

READ MORE: London city hall to consider lowering residential speed limits to 40 km/h

Ward 5’s Maureen Cassidy and Ward 11’s Stephen Turner are among those on council advocating for the change, noting that vehicles zooming down residential streets are one of the top complaints they hear from constituents.

According to city staff, the risk of a fatal crash between a pedestrian and a vehicle increases significantly when vehicles are travelling over 40 km/h.

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But their report also cautions against setting the limit too low.

“Artificially lowering the speed too far can result in greater speed differentials which come with their own safety issues,” it reads. “Pedestrians and drivers may misjudge the speed of approaching vehicles if a speed limit is set at a level that achieves low compliance.”

With full council signing off on speed limit consultation, the results of those conversations are expected to go to council in the fall.

It would cost London $400,000 to manufacture and install the appropriate signage.

READ MORE: City committee considering connecting Thames Valley Parkway trail in London

Also up for debate at Tuesday’s meeting is an option to bridge the gap between two sections of the Thames Valley Parkway, which currently has a one-kilometre trail break between Richmond Street near Western University and the playing fields on Adelaide Street near Windermere Road.

The civic works committee recommends a $6.2-million contract be awarded to J-AAR Excavating to build the missing path section.

Construction could start this year, with the trail useable by the fall of 2020.

The full cost of the project, including design, administration and an architectural study, is $7.5 million. The Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling program will cover $3.3 million of the cost.

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