Winnipeg city councillors vote against putting speed limit question before residents

Winnipeg city councillors have voted against an idea to hold a plebiscite asking voters to weigh in on reducing speed limits on residential streets. Global News

City councillors have voted against a plan that could have given Winnipeggers the chance to weigh in on whether or not to reduce residential speed limits.

A motion to see a plebiscite on speed limits added to the ballot during the next civic election was ultimately defeated by councillors on the city’s executive policy committee (EPC) at their Wednesday meeting.

The idea had been brought forward by Transcona Coun. Shawn Nason, who, before the meeting, told Global News a majority of those living in his ward oppose reducing speed limits on residential streets.

The city has been looking into reducing speed limits on residential streets to 30 or 40 km/h. The province passed a bill in March 2019 that allows municipalities to set their own speed limits.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Winnipeg city councilors discuss lowering residential speed limits'
Winnipeg city councilors discuss lowering residential speed limits

“My residents have been loud and clear that they, in no uncertain terms, do not want any change in speed,” Nason told Global News.

“It’s been 50 km/h for many decades but there is a push in the city by, I would say, a small but vocal amount of residents, that have expressed a want and a desire to lower the speed.”

Nason’s motion was rejected by a 6-1 vote, with only North Kildonan councillor Jeff Browaty voting in favour.

“I believe that streets are generally engineered for 50 km/hr speed limits, but that’s a maximum speed under ideal conditions,” Browaty said in an email to Global News before the vote.

Story continues below advertisement

“When there’s pedestrians, bikes, wheelchairs, parked cars, ice, snow, etc., on or near the roadway, it’s already mandatory to slow down.”

Browaty went on to say he thinks the majority of Winnipeggers don’t support reducing speed limits.

Click to play video: 'St. Boniface streets see reduced speed limits'
St. Boniface streets see reduced speed limits

“While there are frequently well-intended interest groups at City Hall requesting blanket reductions, I don’t believe their position is based on sound policy or the interests of the broader public,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I believe their frequent attempts to reduce speed limits is getting on to the agenda of my colleagues and I believe a ballot question is an appropriate way, in this instance, to broadly debate the issue and gauge the position of the broader public.”

Story continues below advertisement

The vote means Nason’s motion was received as information by EPC and won’t move on to be voted on by council as a whole.

Before the meeting Nason said he would to come back to council with other plans on the issue should his motion not pass.

“I will be prepared to come back with other ideas and ways to try and maintain this 50 km/h speed because that’s what my residents expect of me.”

Click to play video: 'Reduced speed limits return to Winnipeg school zones'
Reduced speed limits return to Winnipeg school zones


Sponsored content