The City of Winnipeg has reduced the speed limit on a pair of busy St. Boniface streets.
Both Marion and Goulet streets — from St. Mary’s to Youville — saw their speed limits reduced from 60 to 50 kilometres per hour on Monday morning.
The city said the change is part of the new speed limit setting bylaw that came into force in 2019 as a result of the Transportation and Traffic Modernization Act (Bill 14).
The decision to reduce the speed to 50 kilometres per hour is the result of both a community push to make the neighbourhood more pedestrian-friendly and a technical analysis based on the Transportation Association of Canada’s guidelines for establishing speed limits.
“We had residents and businesses on board, and they’ve been asking for this for some time now,” Coun. Matt Allard of St. Boniface told 680 CJOB.
Allard said he’s encouraging drivers to adhere to the posted limits and dismissed the idea that the new limit is a cash grab.
“In terms of revenue opportunity, I think this is really an opportunity to develop the Marion and Goulet streets as community main streets,” Allard said.
“Our taxes come from primarily buildings and property taxes, so when you have a thriving community, you also have revenue that comes in to the city and from businesses themselves.”
In a social media post Monday, the Norwood Grove Business Improvement Zone called the decision “a huge step forward for our community, our main streets and supporting the networks of urban main streets and communities that make up our beautiful city of Winnipeg!”
Mixed feelings from business owners, residents
Gabriel Delos Santos has been operating his store Spice World on Marion Street for several years. He says reducing the speed limit has both pros and cons.
“The advantage will be that my customers can get across the road safely,” Delos Santos told Global News.
But he also says it will take some getting used to.
“If you’re used to driving 60, it will be a hard time (slowing down).”
Karyn Roziere lives and works in the area. She says reducing the speed limit won’t deter the speeders.
“Winnipeg drivers are always in a rush,” she said. “Everyone’s in a rush, so whether you drop it, people are still going to rush or they’re just going to find a reason to complain and the cops are going to have to give out more tickets.”
She also says congestion from passing trains and during rush hour usually prevents most people from speeding.
“In this area it really doesn’t matter because no one can really drive (the speed limit) because of getting backed up from the trains and rush hour and stuff,” Roziere said. “It’s only 10 kilometres, I don’t see the big deal about it. People are going to complain about it.”
Coun. Allard says the yellow signs that read “new” on the posted speed limits will remain up for six weeks. He also says speeding enforcement will begin sometime in the next six weeks.
But whether drivers will be given a grace period, remains up to police, according to Traffic Ticket Experts owner Len Eastoe.
“The police service are the ones that decide to enforce those new zones,” Eastoe said. “It usually is a few weeks, but not always. I’ve seen them put up signs and enforce them almost immediately at times as well.”
— With files from Marney Blunt