Staff report suggests lowering speed limits in London residential areas

London city council is considering lowering the speed limit on residential streets from 50 km/h to 40 km/h. Andrew Graham / 980 CFPL

A staff report going before the City of London’s civic works committee on Tuesday recommends lowering the speed limit in residential areas to 40 kilometres per hour as part of an area speed limit program.

The revised limit would apply to local and collector streets and is 10 kilometres an hour slower than the current speed limit for residential areas.

Certain arterial roads in the downtown, however, would also see a lower speed limit, including King Street between Thames and Colborne streets, Queens Avenue between Colborne and Ridout streets and Richmond Street between Horton and Oxford streets — areas that city staff say have a high number of cyclists and pedestrians as well as higher numbers of collisions involving those groups.

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Staff also recommend designating area speed limit zones as “community safety zones” under the Highway Traffic Act, allowing for the doubling of speeding fines in those areas.

City council voted in May to have staff look into the issue and hold public consultations.

Feedback from residents about the plan was mixed.

In a city survey of more than 5,500 people, a slight majority — 52 per cent — said residential areas should see a lower speed limit, while 63 per cent said the city should be allowed to designate high-traffic pedestrian areas as community safety zones.

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School zones have had a speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour for several years, and the city says some respondents suggested that speed limit be lowered further to 30 kilometres per hour.

City officials say existing studies show the risk of pedestrian or cyclist death increases significantly when vehicles are travelling more than 40 kilometres per hour.

City staff say that if the plan were to be adopted, some 2,000 sets of signage marking the beginning and ends of community safety zones would need to be made and installed, costing around $1 million.