Calgary city council approves public engagement on residential speed limit reductions

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WATCH: Calgary city council voted Monday to move forward on public engagement regarding lowering speed limits. Michael King reports.

*EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story said public engagement would be completed by the end of 2019, with council voting on the issue as soon as March. City council extended the timeline on Monday, and will receive a report no later than June.

Calgarians will get their say on whether or not they want to see speed limits lowered in Calgary.

City Council voted Monday night to launch a public engagement campaign focused on improving safety on Calgary streets.

The campaign will cost $200,000 and will involve city-run open houses, town halls and an online survey.

City administrators also said they will be talking to transport businesses, such as bussing companies.

READ MORE: Calgarians being asked their opinion on lowering speed limits

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While the vote to hear from Calgarians did pass, several councillors balked at the $200,000 price tag.

Ward 14 Councillor Peter Demong went as far as to put forward a motion to postpone the speed limit issue until 2021.

“[The city is] spending a few hundred thousand dollars on this, then the millions of dollars to actually change the signs,” Demong said. “I’m just saying, can’t we do it when we’re healthy [rather] then do it right now when we’re all cash-strapped.”

Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra said the cost to reduce speed limits is a necessary investment in public safety.

“Lives are on the line, massive amounts of money on the line in terms of the damage that is [done] every year in the city,” Carra said.

“While I recognize we’re in a downturn and we have to look for places to cut expenditures, starting a project that should’ve started 20 years ago and putting it off for several more years is not the right thing to do.”

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The three scenarios include a 30 km/h speed limit on residential and collector streets, 30 km/h on residential streets with collector streets at 50 km/h and a final option of 40km/h on both residential streets and collector roads.

The committee also voted to include the option of leaving things as they are as well as getting a cost analysis of what the changes would cost.

Engagement is expected completed in the early months of 2020 and council will receive a report on the engagement no later than June.

– With files from Aurelio Perri