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Edmonton looking at ideas that would lower speed limits, mostly targeting residential roads

Edmonton looking at lower speed limits in residential areas
WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton city councillors are discussing lowering speed limits in some parts of the city. As Sarah Komadina explains, one of the ideas would see different residential speeds in the core versus the suburbs.

Edmonton is considering two recommendations that would reduce speed limits in parts of the city.

The first recommendation is to drop the speed limit to 40 km/h on all residential roads. The other recommendation would target a smaller area but take the speed down to 30 km/h.

In the first scenario, Edmonton would apply a default speed limit of 40 km/h in residential neighbourhoods, which are mostly 50 km/h presently. This change would not affect roadways that are set at 60 km/h or higher or arterial roads.

There are also some exception roadways. City administration will evaluate residential collector roads to determine if some should remain at 50 km/h.

App incorporates lower speed limits in Edmonton commute estimates
App incorporates lower speed limits in Edmonton commute estimates

“The estimated time of arrival tool has really helped us understand what the impacts of each of these approaches might be on people’s travel times,” said Jessica Lamarre, acting director of the city’s Traffic Safety.

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“We really haven’t seen many cases where there’s more than a two minute difference.”

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In the second scenario, what the city defines as “the core zone” would have a 30 km/h limit. The core zone includes neighbourhoods like Glenora, Belgravia and Avonmore.

READ MORE: Edmonton city councillors discuss proposal to reduce residential speed limit

“Some of the considerations about a mixed approach — so, to clarify, that would be 30 in the core zone and 40 outside the core zone — is that it doesn’t really meet that consistency decision-making point we’re looking for,” Lamarre said.

“We’re trying to… make sure that drivers are really clear about their expectations across the city. It will require more signage because it’s not one default… and it does cost slightly more than the current default 40-km scenario.

Council will also consider lowering speed limits to 40 km/h on main streets such as Whyte and Jasper avenues, as well as other busy pedestrians areas.

Edmonton to explore two-tier approach to residential speed limits
Edmonton to explore two-tier approach to residential speed limits

“We are fully committed to Vision Zero, which is zero traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries,” Lamarre said.

“We want to find ways to increase livability on our streets so one of the premises that we used walking through our analysis takes priority over convenience and that we want to create safe spaces in Edmonton.

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

“Overall, when we’re trying to achieve Vision Zero, we’re working towards any reductions we can find. And, as we’ve done such strong and powerful work in our current strategy to address hot spot or specific locations in the city, the work has become more complex, so we have to look at more systemic approaches that have a bigger impact in order to continue the momentum towards zero.”

The proposals will be before council on Feb. 26.

If you wish to speak at the public hearing, please visit edmonton.ca/meetings and fill out a request to speak form.

What the City of Edmonton describes as The Core Zone.
What the City of Edmonton describes as The Core Zone. Courtesy: City of Edmonton Traffic Safety